Holidays can be a fraught time when you've lost your partner. Whereas overseas trips were once a relaxing time that you used to plan and enjoy together, now you are faced with the bleak prospect of organising a holiday on your own – and perhaps even going away on your own for the first time too. If you have young kids, the idea of going away without any other grown ups can be enough to fill you with dread.
Going on holiday with friends or family can be the best option. Even if it’s just for a few days, it can help to relieve the loneliness of being on your own 24 hours a day. And if you have kids, make sure that there are other children for them to play with too, so that you have a chance to put your feet up while they’re playing. If you’re single without kids, going away on an activity holiday might be a good idea in the first instance.
Joining WAY is also a fantastic way to find like minded people to go on holiday with. WAY has organised some great holidays over the past few years, giving members the chance to take a break with people who understand just how hard it can be to go on holiday after the death of their partner.
Recent trips have included New Year’s skiing trips, Father’s Day trips to Dorset and Derbyshire and an annual trip to Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest, which attracts more than 250 WAY members and children. Many WAY members are single parents – so there’s bound to be someone with kids your age who will want to do the same kinds of things as you. There are also WAY weekends that are just for grown ups – a chance for parents to leave the kids with friends or family, relax and let your hair down for a change.
“This was just a trip, but it was an important one,” says one WAY member who attended her first WAY holiday on the anniversary of her husband’s death. “It wasn't a magic potion to heal my life. But it was a moment of connection, of peace, of laughter. Strangers supporting me the way my oldest friends and family simply can’t and don’t, not because WAY members are saints (although they are all lovely), but because they understand.”
There are also specialist holiday operators that cater for single parents. Some of the companies WAY members have tried in the past include Small Families Holidays and Mango Single Parent Holidays. And there’s a Single Parent Travel Club too, which is run by a group of single parents on a membership basis and caters for all kinds of different holiday tastes – from youth hostels to fancy hotels in Florida.
Holidays can be such a difficult time when you've been widowed. Last summer one of our members, Alison, took the plunge and went away with 14 other WAY members and their families. Here's her story…