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Without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve had to do this year is get through December. December has been a massive huge bully who has punched me in the face, thrown me on the floor, kicked me a few times and then sang Christmas Carols over me. Bloody Christmas Carols.
I was led to believe that Divorce was one of those incremental things. One that started off painful and then got easier and easier as each day went along. So imagine my surprise when I realise that this isn’t the case at all. Divorce is not like a broken leg that gets strapped up in a fun plaster cast for everyone to sign until it gets taken off six weeks later when all is fixed. Sometimes, like in your first December as a single person, Divorce feels much worse.
I blame Christmas. So much of Christmas is geared towards family (Sainsbury’s ad I’m looking at YOU, you big emotional bastard) and every single family having festive fun in every single media outlet seems to be headed up by a mum and a dad. Which is annoying, because statistically a quarter of British families are single parented. Take that, insensitive ad people. Take that and show us some non-standard families.
Knowing that doesn’t make it any better though. I still feel sad and lonely that this is the first Christmas in ten that I’ve spent as a single person, and that my children are going to spend the period with only half of their parents; though I did offer my ex the option of kipping on the sofa on Christmas eve so he could see them open their presents. I’m surprised he declined, if only because I always make an epic smoked salmon breakfast on the morning of the 25th.
Anyway, this December has been filled with quite a lot of sadness. It’s been hard to realise old traditions won’t happen any more… the family Sunday afternoon buying then decorating the tree followed by a roast dinner: gone forever. That one was tough, despite remembering the last time we did this as a family it wasn’t particularly happy. Then there was going to Elfie’s nativity separately. Doing the festive food shop alone. Writing only 50% of the Christmas cards I usually send. Buying all the children’s presents on my own (but funnily enough, not spending any less money on them…).
I’ve been determined to push through this though, and start new traditions for the three of us to carry forward. I bloody went and bought my own six foot tree, carried it to my car, wedged it between the two car seats then dragged it into the house at the other end. It might have felt sad (and sodding heavy) but I decorated it on my own and it looks ACE. No traditional roast, we ate sausages afterwards. I built a gingerbread house with Elfie and then demolished half of it on the sofa a couple of afternoons later. Making mulled wine because I like the way it makes the house smell. Crafting Christmas cards and signing them all ‘E’ (though enough bloody glitter, please. I have glitter in places you never want glitter). Going ice skating. Spending ages wandering through the decorations at the shopping centre.
It’s sometimes difficult to remember that Divorce is such a long process. I thought once the first six months, nine months were over that it would be easier. But it’s a process of grieving; I’m mourning a life I expected to lead that will never happen and even though I’m almost a year into this single person thing it’s OK to feel sad about it. As time goes on it will stop being sad, it’ll just be different. And finally it will stop being different, it’ll just be normal. But until that time comes I will eat my weight in goose fat potatoes and stilton, neck my mulled wine and work out what makes our new Christmases merry.