Christmas 2006 would be a difficult time – a space at the table on Christmas Day. I was on my own now, my husband, the love of my life, my closest friend, would not be with us this Christmas – it was real!
I began to realise how hard it would be not having him here with us all on Christmas Day… all the other days since his death were hard enough, but Christmas was a special time for all the family – we would all miss him.
Sending the Christmas cards was especially hard, as there were some of our friends whom we only contacted at Christmas.
How would I put it? What would I write this year in my usual Christmas greetings when only my name would be the one at the bottom of the page?
I was coping okay in the months prior to Christmas, but then I realised how hard it would be celebrating without him.
Brian’s words to me just prior to his death were “enjoy yourself” – did he think that it would be that easy, after spending 45 years of my life with him, doing so many things together?
“Do the things you would like to do, travel and don’t stop doing the things you enjoy just because I am gone.”
All too soon it became a reality and, as Christmas was approaching, I had to make plans.
I decided to travel to Western Australia to my family there: that would help me through. I was welcomed with open arms, and Christmas was nice, but not the same.
My faith in God comforted me. If I had not had my faith, I am sure I would not have coped so well.
Brian was my rock and through his love of God he taught me so many things during our life together.
At first I was very cross with God for taking him from me, it wasn’t fair, we had such plans.
I questioned God as to why. He was a good and faithful servant; he didn’t deserve to die so young. But I knew God had a plan for him, as he does for us all.
Christmas is a time of joy, love and celebration, and we made the best of it but don’t get me wrong it wasn’t easy; it was very, very hard, and still is.
I still miss him every day and I don’t think this Christmas will be any different from the first. It will be just as hard, but maybe this year there won’t be cards arriving addressed to us both as there were last year. It may be easier.
I will cope again because I have my faith, and my loving family which helps me to face the future without the man I had loved for so long, by my side.
Elaine Shaw is a member of the Emerald Congregation in Central Queensland. Her husband Brian died in April 2006.
Photo : Elaine Shaw