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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Dear Kiantha: Grief, anger overtake holiday cheer after wife’s death

Kiantha Duncan For The Spokesman-Review

Dear Kiantha,

While everyone else is enjoying the holidays, my resentment grows stronger every day. I lost my wife of 56 years in early spring, and nothing is the same without her. I used to enjoy this time of year because of her, and now I am alone and hate every minute of it.

Dear Friend,

When people say, “I am sorry for your loss,” often it is a six-word condolence given when no other words seem to fit the moment.

For that reason, I will not say I am sorry for your loss. Instead, I’d like to acknowledge your pain and sit in it with you for a moment.

After being with someone for 56 years, I imagine that everything reminds you of her. Seeing her favorite color, watching a television show that you enjoyed together, getting ready for bed at night, trips to the grocery store and certainly photographs of her smile.

All of it reminds you of her and it should. When you spend 56 years of your life with someone, the line that separates the two of you is very faint. She was your person, and in truth, nothing will ever be the same without her.

You have every right to grieve and be angry. It is a testament and manifestation of your love for her.

The holidays are excruciatingly painful for so many people. The memories around the loss of a partner, a parent, a child, family members and beloved pets bring about sadness, and rightfully so.

This first holiday season without your wife likely will be the most painful you will experience, as your wound is fresh.

While you may never have a holiday season in which you don’t think of her, my hope is that over time you will feel her spirit around you daily and especially during the holiday seasons.

If your wife decorated your home for the holidays, from here on out consider setting out one piece of the décor she loved. An ornament, a stocking or a hand towel she saved for the holiday season in honor of your memories together and your love.

When you pick up the item, hold it in your hand and be reminded that she also picked up that same item with love and may it bring joy to you in the same way it brought joy to her.

I will be thinking of you this season.

Soul to soul,


Dear Kiantha can be read Fridays in The Spokesman-Review. To read this column in Spanish, visit To submit a question, email

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