December is an Emotional Month for Many
The month of December can be an emotional time for people of all ages, particularly for those over 50. Sometimes the emotions are sad, sometimes happy. With a new year coming, people reflect more than usual about what’s in store for them in the months ahead.
This December, I think of my friend Melinda in Santa Rosa, California; it’s been a tough year for her. In January, her husband Dale passed away unexpectedly. Then, in October, the home she and Dale purchased in 2016, was destroyed in the Napa-Sonoma Counties wildfires.
And we can’t forget the thousands of Californians statewide who have also lost their homes in the recent wildfires. You can imagine how emotionally difficult December is for them.
And I think of Sue, my Jackson, Michigan, high school classmate, who this year married Phil, another classmate friend of mine, in a storybook scenario, only to have him pass away four months later. I spoke with her this week. “A day at a time,” she said, “I am going to be okay.”
Then there is Mary Lou, of San Clemente, who in September had double total knee replacement surgery. She said, “Now I am three months out from the surgery and still recovering. I can now walk without pain, and without any aids such as a walker or cane. It is truly a miracle.”
And despite sore new knees, Mary Lou is putting a positive spin on her life by working in her business, where she tutors students who are preparing to take the bar exam.
Mary Lou said, “I am on the cusp of a new phase in my life. Who knows? I might meet someone. I miss having a man in my life. Your recent newsletter message of hope, change and new beginnings struck a chord with me because of all the good things that can come out of the pain.”
December can be challenging for relationships. Perhaps, because a new year is looming, people who are unhappy in relationships decide it’s time for a change, or it’s time to move on, hoping to start in a new direction on their own. Often, the partner, spouse, or significant other has no idea these thoughts are brewing within their mate’s head.
I speak from experience. On Christmas Eve of 1993, while I was in Northern California visiting my 83-year-old mom, I did not know that my wife of six years was cleaning out our house, taking furniture and belongings she wanted and moving out of my life. What a shock. That was an emotionally sad December for me.
Now, this December, 24 years later, I am very grateful that what happened to me led to a writing career and to a wonderful life with my partner Greta.
A similar experience happened to a woman I consider to be a dear friend, although we’ve never met in person. Liping, who hails from China, contacted me in 2007 when her husband had left her. Her December that year was an emotional downer.
We’ve kept in touch, on and off, since. This week, I asked her for an update on her life.
Liping wrote, “When I read your recent newsletter, I cried; it brought back memories of 2007 when my ex went back to China and left me and my teenage son in the USA without any clue or warning, and then a difficult divorce followed in 2008.
“In 2013, I met David via Craigslist. We have been married four years. We share a lot of the same interests. He likes hiking, reading and doing crafts. He has two daughters and he is a wonderful, loving father to them.
“So, this December, I am so glad and lucky to have found him. I am very happy and peaceful.”
For people going through an emotional December that might be on the sad side of the fence, remember that out of adversity comes opportunity and the chance for a better life. I found it. Liping found it. And, Melinda, Sue and Mary Lou will find it. And you will, too.