False Cheer? No thanks.

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“Sorry, but I’m just not up for this,” said one of my widow friends about a New Year’s Eve invite.

If the threat of hearing Auld Lang Syne and the crush of shiny happy people makes you anxious, avoid the merrymaking altogether. We widowed get a free pass in the ‘I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer’ category. It’s OK to say ‘no.’ You can’t force a good time, and false cheer may make you feel even worse. It’s not just the widowed who dread December 31st; New Year’s Eve celebrating is spurned by many having nothing to do with bereavement and the recent loss of a loved one. This holiday, more than most, forces us to look back — a painful task. Give into yourself. If your gut keeps saying ‘no’ to New Year’s Eve invitations, make a date with yourself, instead. Prepare some of your favorite comfort foods, grab a good book or watch a great movie. There’s nothing wrong with treating tonight like any other night of the week.

That said, don’t miss the opportunity to feel the hope and promise of a new year once it begins. Chances are you’ll feel it sooner than you expect. Let optimism have its way with you. Don’t feel guilty about pleasures. Make yourself smile.

To all my widowed friends, may this new year bring you comfort, peace, health, happiness and success!!

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