Christmas letters

| | Comments (0)

I am so on top of things this year. I mailed packages in time for them to arrive by Christmas. I've finished my Christmas shopping and wrapping. And I sent out Christmas cards a full four days before Christmas. I even wrote a short Christmas letter again this year, and printed it on Christmas stationery.

I despised Christmas letters until I started writing them myself a few years after my husband died. I was prompted by the thought that there were a few people, my husband's former colleagues, who might be interested in knowing that Michael and I are doing okay. I realized last year that I was sending cards to some of them long before receiving cards from them. I was getting cards in mid-January, which can mean that they hadn't planned to keep me on their list, but felt obligated to respond after hearing from me.

Assuming they were genuinely concerned right after my husband died (three weeks before Christmas, 1999), enough years have gone by for my son to have graduated from high school, then college, so there is no longer any need for concern; no need to keep the memory of the whole tragic episode alive. And yet... any widow can probably tell you that at the funeral, there's this sort of reception line, like a wedding but not. Everyone comes and hugs you and says "If there's anything I can do, let me know."

It's just words. I mean seriously, do you think I could have called one of my husband's colleagues and said hey, I need someone to mow my lawn, how about it? If you do ask someone for help or advice, the answer boils down to "Pay for it." A dozen people told me to hire an attorney (including the friend who is an attorney, who wouldn't answer my tax-related questions himself), which I eventually did. But having said it, having said "If there's anything I can do..." placed a burden on the conscience, I suppose, that they will carry until I lift it.

So I cut back the list this year. I sent a whopping ten cards: six to relatives, three to friends, and one to the only colleague of my husband's whose card, and letter, arrive well before Christmas every year. The rest of them--the ones I dropped off the list--may well feel a tiny weight lifted from their shoulders when they realize they haven't heard from me this year.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

August 2011

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31      


Powered by Movable Type 4.12