the eleventh month

I sent very few cards of my own but Christmas cards came

It occurred to me early in life, probably when I was eight or ten, that if you are already happy you dont really need Christmas and if you are not happy it would be the saddest time of the year.

Perhaps that helped me get through this first Christmas without him. it was painful but the pain was not as sharp as it would have been had I been expecting more from the season of joy.

I sent very few cards of my own but Christmas cards came. Some were addressed to both of us. I put them aside. One day soon I will write the people who sent them and tell them of Jacks death.  

I didnt meet all the challenges of the first Christmasone of them I put aside for now: we did not have our  dinner in the dining room as we had done for so many years – with Jack at the head of the table and all of us-  daughter, son in law, grandchild and the occasional friend in their accustomed places.

Without him the set was broken and there was no sense to be found in any arrangement I could think of. It was asking too much to sit at that table without him. So we settled at the kitchen table and if the meal was not as festive as it used to be, it was fine.

And we had a big beautiful tree though if it were not for my grandson,I would have settled for a poinsettia. Unexpectedly, decorating the tree had been the hardest part of all. Even though Jack had been ill last Christmas we never seriously considered that he would be gone when Christmas came around again.that the fragile glass ornaments he had reached down from the tree last year would be hung again without him.

Last year, when the doctors released Jack from the hospital, they had said Well operate after Christmas.. go home and have a good holiday.”  We had joked about the surgeons mournful sounding good wishes. Surely he hadnt realised how dire his holiday message might sound to us if we took the wording as pointed advice. It was pointed advice and we hadnt realised it. But it was, in any case. advice we didnt need.

We had been happy to be together. It was a good holiday.

Copyright Maryalicia Post
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One month later ...

Maryalicia Post

Maryalicia Post is a travel writer. When her husband died, after 30 happy years and a lot of travelling together, she knew her hardest journey would be learning to live without him.

She chronicled the journey though the first year of grief in a poem called ‘After You’ which was published as an illustrated book by Souvenir Press, London.  Recommended by the British newspaper columnist Bel Mooney, After You is also one of the texts ‘on losing a partner’ suggested by Cruse, the UK bereavement support group.

In this series of postings, written for the readers of, Maryalicia describes how her book took shape, in a month-by-month journal of that daunting first year.

After You is available through Amazon.
Her travel website is at