I think Miley Cyrus’s song: I can buy myself flowers, was a gamechanger for many women.

It was they say, a song aimed at her disappointment in her marriage with Liam Hemsworth, because after all the whole world knew that he had a problem keeping a certain body part in his trousers and was terribly unfaithful to her during their short marriage. You may think what you like but I thought the song was a strong statement to women and to tell us that we can do things on our own.

I put it to the test myself last summer when I went out for lunch by myself at a local restaurant, and afterwards wandered around the Ibiza market. I was perfectly fine, and it was the steppingstone to doing more things on my own. I can! 

This forthcoming Christmas Eve I am off to Rotterdam to a Christmas Proms Concert with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. I have been trying to take my family to something like that and everyone did not want to do, and it reminded me of Saturday mornings as a girl, my parents taking me to the Royal Festival Hall in London for a concert, followed by an educational afternoon in London. At the time I seem to remember I thought it was a bit boring, but it was the laying of the foundations of my love for classical music and what better way to start the Holiday Season that floating away in your mind on the notes of orchestral music. I told my friends I am going and many asked ‘alone’? Er yes, I replied. A strong women can take herself to a restaurant on her own, to the cinema, to a concert. It is a sign of being more than comfortable on your own and I think a sign of strength. I actually saw a quote on the socials similar to this! Signs, right?

I think I never ever anticipated being on my own at my age. Just thought like would go on in retirement finally having the time to do the things we had put off for years. When someone suddenly is told that they have a life-threatening illness, it all becomes serious, and you realize that being on your own is something that is going happen a lot faster than you thought.

After the initial grief, and going through the process, I have to say that as far as I was concerned that I felt it was a relief. Not for me but for my partner. The suffering, anger, frustration, pain, sorrow, and the idea of having to leave his family behind (which was awful by the way). But I felt a strange feeling of relief and told my GP so when I saw him a few weeks later. He understood as many of you will who have been through a similar process.

Watching and waiting for life to end is a horrible process for the person in the main but for the family too. Of course, any death, sudden or otherwise is a process of grief. A girlfriend of mine who suddenly lost her brother-in-law, told me that I knew nothing about death! Er … what I replied of course I do, but she thought it was different and needless to say, said friendship fizzled out pretty damn fast. Not only about that but for a lot of other reasons too and it is very true that you find out who your real friends are.

But I was the one, knowing that life does go on, and with Christmas approaching I was off to buy a tree (a real one) for the first time in years. Having constantly been up against someone who would not have needles dropping in the house. I had my first real one and decorated it with Christmas music playing in the background. This doesn’t mean that I am cold-hearted, I just knew that survival meant picking up the threads and making the best of things under the circumstances.

A few months later quite by chance I found a folder in my letter box about learning to play Bridge and immediately another memory back to my father who played avidly when he worked in Paris. I went to join and truly believed that I would never ever learn all the rules, but amazingly so and now I play weekly, and this introduced me into a large circle of people as well.

Believe me sitting in your house feeling sorry for yourself does not work long term. Of course, I am not saying that the day after a funeral you have to be partying in a night club somewhere, but it is all about having the strength to pick up the threads and move forward.

It has been two years since he passed and looking back on the two years, I can truly say that I have done such a lot. I re-found my strength. I found yes, I was able to ‘buy myself flowers’, ‘write my name in the sand’, ‘talk to myself for hours’, take myself dancing, ‘hold my own hand’, and the most important part of the song ‘I can love myself, better than anyone can’.

Now there’s a phrase, love myself? Is that the ego talking. No. It is saying that if you are able to love yourself and believe me a lot of people have problems with this, that you will then project an energy of love for others. If you feel confident with yourself and happy, you will pass on the same vibe to others.

I feel confident getting in my car in a few days, driving to Rotterdam, parking in a garage, and going to a concert. I can think of nothing more lovely than starting the Festive Season this way. You can book literally everything online these days, including a reserved parking space so it is so easy. All it takes is gumption and the self-confidence to do it. And the point is you have to. No one wants to be alone and lonely, sitting at home, surrounded by a permanent cloud of misery. Do they? You can have your memories but make them happy ones to look back on and most of all remember that a true show of strength is that you can get out and get on with things on your own. One of the things I found most confronting was that I did not know how to fix things, so I got help. The garden is large and a lot of work but get help. Organize a family BBQ and ask them to come early and do the gardening first. It is not a sign of weakness asking for help. On the contrary, it is being honest not only with yourself but with others and what is wrong with asking.

So, on this note. Remember one thing. Be strong. Dare to be strong and dare to do things yourself. People are impressed they really are and let any comments (negative) just flow in and out of your mind. 

Wishing all my readers and followers a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful sparking New Year. 2024 adds up to 8 which is the number for Love. Now who doesn’t want that in the New Year? Love!

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Jill Kramer

Hi! I'm Jill and I'm a passionate author of books, short stories, columns and blogs.

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