POST 15. Can I Enjoy Holidays and Defeat Depression?

Can I Defeat Depression  

and Enjoy the Holidays?


I’ve suffered the loss of my husband after 51 years, a crushing blow. I’ve had temporary depression before, but facing this loss was life-transforming.


I cried a lot for days, I ate too much, I couldn’t sleep, I wanted to be alone all the time, I didn’t want to pursue my usual activities, I was glued to TV, and I was in a state of wretched fatigue.


 I was trapped in a malaise from which I couldn’t escape.


Until I did!


I can’t tell you exactly when I did, but I know the progress moved in stages, not all at once, step by tortoise-like step.  And everyone’s tortoise certainly moves at different speeds. Some take longer than others. 


I think the first step was taking phone calls from my friends, then lunches out, donating Lou’s clothes to Purple Heart, and sleeping again. 


For me, sleeping with the aid of my doctor prescribed sleeping tablets was a huge factor in retrieving my lost energy.


My doctor also prescribed an anti-depression medication and suggested I use Zoom talk therapy through the Veterans Administration.


By the way, don’t be afraid of seeking professional help. It’s part of the healing process, and it works!


I began to do more things. After 3 months I visited a dear friend, Carla, in Florida. I went in March, after Lou’s death at Christmas. This was a huge first step, but it really helped, and I’m so grateful to Carla and Frank. They listened and helped me deal with my grief. Puppy therapy helped, too, when Carla came home one day with an adorable puppy. 


When i came home from Florida in April, I felt renewed.


Still, when I was invited to join friends for Easter dinner, my first inclination was to decline. I made myself participate. I even put out  Easter decorations, yet another step forward. 


I planted flowers and filled my flowerpots. I put out my patio furniture and readied the area for entertaining. I invited friends for patio parties. Good times! Entertaining was another huge step.  

If you had asked me if I’d ever entertain again without Lou, I would have given a resounding NO! But there I was, entertaining on the patio!


And it felt good!


But the biggest step came at Christmas. I decorated my house, inside and outside, with a little help from friends. Then I had a big party with a Chinese auction type game. We had so much fun. That was one year after Lou’s death. This was biggest step yet! 


 Now I take art lessons and I’m writing again. My interest in books has returned. I’m addressing all my health needs.

This year I took trips with my friend Leslie to Ashville, North Carolina, in the spring and we just returned from Bar Harbor, Maine.



You see, Lou and I loved to travel. I didn’t think I could enjoy travel without him, but amazingly I can! 


Certainly, a major cog in the wheel of my life is missing, but I’ve found I can make a different life, a new life. 


Lou is still with me in everything I do, and everything I do is somehow a tribute to our marriage and our life together. 


I guess the point of this post is tell you to begin with baby steps and then bigger steps. You can climb out of the dung heap of despair and depression caused by loss. 


Take little steps first by doing things that you deprived yourself of after you lost your loved one.


I have one big obstacle yet to come: enter Lou’s office which contains his favorite collections. I still can’t bring myself to enter his sanctum. 


One day soon I will. Yes, I will.


You see, my 2-year journey moving foreard  has one big heart wrenching task remaining. Burying Lou’s ashes at sea in Maine was a big emotional hurdle. This one is an even bigger hurdle.


One more biggy awaits! I’m still moving forward at 78!



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