Alone for the holidays, what do I do?

Dear Diva,

I am a single, 36 year old female. My parents have passed and I have no siblings. My closest relatives live 3 states away. I hate the holiday season because I don’t have anyone special to share the day with. In the past when I have been invited to friends homes, I have always felt kind of funny because its such a close family day, and I always end up missing my parents and don’t feel like I am very good company. What can I do to make the holiday easier on me until they are over with?
Alone in Addison

Dear Go- give-back,

Loneliness sucks. I have felt that, and have spent a holiday or 20 missing my family members that have passed.  Considering my lifestyle, I have also found myself in strange towns where I knew not- a- soul. The best way to overcome loneliness is to help others overcome loneliness.  Some of my best holiday memories are of those times.

On a Thanksgiving while in Boone, NC with just myself and two young sons, it didnt make sense to me to cook a giant turkey for only myself and a 3 & 5- year-old. We headed on down to the local shelter, brought some pies and helped pass out food to those that had none. My sons played in the rec center, and we danced and helped the center put up the Christmas tree.  We had a blast.

The first Christmas after my divorce, my ex took our sons for Christmas eve. I thought I would absolutely die of hurt at home alone without my children on my favorite part of Christmas, and for midnight services. I packed up a few extra gifts, and went up to the nursing home. I asked the nurses, who needs visitors and gifts and went around and talked with some of the residents that had no family. One lady, I will call her Ruth, wanted me to paint her finger nails. She said she hadn’t had her finger nails painted in years. So with the nurses help we rounded up some different color nail polish and had a grand old evening sipping tea and painting our nails. Some of the other residents got involved and it felt good.

There was another lady, I will call her Betty, she suffered from dementia, and she sang “I’m looking over a 4-leaf clover” over and over again, all day every day. Well we finally got her singing “Jingle Bells” and though she probably didn’t recall it 5 minutes after, she smiled while she sang it, and the other residents were grateful to hear a different song for once!

Ya see Addison, do something with it. Don’t take the loneliness and drown in it. If you don’t feel like spending time at others homes, reach out to those that have less. Help cure someone else’s loneliness and you will find yours fading away along with theirs. It feels good to help others feel good, even for a minute or two. It also reminds us of how fortunate each of us are in our own ways.  I hope you have the very merriest of holidays this year, and a brilliant New Year.

Love, Diva