As this very difficult holiday season moves into gear, I am moved to do as many do and write about the gifts we want. Not me as a writer, but me as a person who is struggling with a grief that is sometimes hard to bear, or to tell apart from depression (note: I understand there is a difference between grief and depression. But they can feel an awful lot alike). So here is...

What the Grieving Widow* Wants for Christmas

Okay, the answer to that is obvious. But even in my most irrational moments, some part of my brain knows I can't have what I really want (the science-fiction lover in me would vote for time travel so I can fix it myself). So what do I want that I *can* have?

1. The ability to remember that those horrible moments when the world is a sucking black hole won't last forever. I don't mean won't last as in I'll be less devastated in a year or two, but awareness that the black hole comes and goes on a pretty short cycle. If I can hold on for an hour or a day, I'll find that the world has some color again.

2. I'm certainly not alone in this one, but I would really like this stinking, rotten, lousy COVID to be gone, so I can go get all the hugs I need from all my friends. I don't know if I wanted to hold a funeral, but I am pretty mad at the virus for not even giving me that choice.

3. Notes and cards. All those people who sent stuff in the first weeks are vastly appreciated. I still need you.

4. Someone to share the little decisions. Okay, that's kind of wishing him back again. But seriously, I don't know how all you single parents and lone people out there do it. I managed somehow for a lot of years, but I'm used to being a pair now, and it's hard.

5. Okay, the writer wants something, too. Aside from sales (what we always want), I want people to let me know they are reading my books, and let me know when something I write gives them pleasure. A review won't hurt, but you don't have to do that. Just let me know I'm not writing into a void.

*I really hate that word "widow." But there it is. Also, I had to edit this and remove a lot of cuss words.

There it is, and thanks for letting me rant. I am very grateful for amazingly supportive family and friends who have held me together so far, and show no signs of letting go. I'm especially grateful to have some of them around me this Christmas, which we all know is going to kind of suck.