Holidays can be a tough time without your spouse or if you don’t have family near your duty base. I went through this last year as my hubby was gone for the first time during the holidays. It took everything in me to be Happy! I cried a whole a lot!
Of course, you could never tell from the pictures on my Instagram or Facebook. Only my mom and closest friends knew the hurt I was dealing with at the time. No one’s pain is the same, nor is it more or less than another. Every spouse deals with it and gets through it differently.
But, during the holidays there is so much guilt involved in just celebrating. I just felt so bad at times. I was going out with friends, spending time with my kids, going to holiday events and having family to be with while he went without. I still had to put the happy face on for the kids and try to push through it.
Here are some things that gave me the energy and strength to get through the holidays without him.
Just DO IT! So, just because your spouse isn’t home for the holidays…they are still coming no matter what. The days are getting closer and closer, there’s no ignoring it. Get in the attic, garage and get those decorations out, blast the holiday music and start making your holiday treats. Have the kids help out and start with decorating your home with your family. You’d be surprised what some holiday decorations can do for your spirit. It doesn’t mean we don’t love or miss them, it just means that life goes on and we can celebrate them in spirit.
Reach Out. Listen, not everyone is thinking of you during the seasons. I know it’s harsh, but true. Everyone is busy with their own lives in preparation for the holidays as well. So, pick up a phone, shoot a text, host an event or simply ask what they are doing for the holiday. You will be surprised how many people want to get together with you and support you during these tough times.
Keep traditions. If your tradition is putting up the tree the day after Thanksgiving or whatever that may be… remember that they are your family traditions. You must still continue them. It’s hard but the show must go on. Your spouse wouldn’t want you down in the dumps and you still have the kids to celebrate with. They are relying on you to set the tone. Keeping those traditions will show them that even when times get tough, family can make it through no matter how hard.
Send it in a box. Spouse boxes are the best things to send to the deployed spouse. Not only do they feel good when they get it, but it makes you and the kids feel better doing something for them. It gives the kids a chance to share and be creative. I always felt so good putting boxes together for my hubby…putting in his favorite things and holiday themed items. I always cried right after hoping it would get there, get there in time, and hoping that he felt all the love we poured into it. He always loved them! The box smells like home when it’s opened and everyone pours out of it with all their notes and pictures. It really is a heartfelt thing to do!
Finally, take care of yourself. This is not the time to say “YES” to everyone and everything. Remember you are a one person team right now and you don’t have to participate in every single event. Last year, I even opted-out of doing holiday cards simply because I did not have the time, energy or spirit to do so. However, this is the time to say “YES” to yourself. Rest, reflect and relax.
Holidays are a time of family, food, friendships, shopping and love. Although, a vital part of your family is missing, it’s important to make the best out of the situation and look at the brighter side of things. Make the best out of the situation you are going through!
About the Author:
Moni is a proud Puerto Rican Air Force Spouse and mother of 3 brilliant children, that has found time as a SAHM to finish her Bachelors in Public Relations. She has moved over 13 times as an Army brat and now an Air force MilSpouse. This has allowed her to see things from different views. During her husbands last deployment, she was inspired to write about her military lifestyle from a candid, sassy, bold and witty perspective. She hopes that by sharing her experiences that it will encourage other spouses to find their voice in this journey of constant change and uncertainty…all this has been accomplished with buckets of prayer, glasses of wine and a few colorful words.