For Rosemary and her boys, Christmases just haven’t been the same for a few years.
The 49-year-old single mother in Arlington became a widow in 2006 when her husband died of gastric cancer. When it was diagnosed, she said, he was already at Stage 4, and two months later he was gone.
“We’d been married 18 years,” she said.
That’s one reason the holidays are so hard for Rosemary and her sons, ages 13 and 17.
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“We have an anniversary Dec. 22,” she said. “It’s still really hard even though it has been a while. You feel like when you get married, it’s forever. I was just ripped apart.
“And it’s still really hard for me during the holidays when I look at my kids and know they don’t have their father. But I try to be strong for them because I don’t want them to feel sad for me.”
Rosemary said her husband’s death took more than an emotional toll; it took a financial one as well. He had a good job as an electrician. Now his wife and children live on his Social Security. Rosemary stays at home and sometimes baby-sits the grandchildren she has from her two other daughters, she said.
Rosemary said she applied to the Star-Telegram’s Goodfellow Fund to help her buy new clothes and shoes for her boys this Christmas.
“I can’t give them everything on my own,” she said. “I’m at my limit. That’s why this fund is such a good thing for the community.”
But there is one thing Rosemary said she is thankful for this year: her boys.
“It’s just me and them,” she said.
It was children like Rosemary’s that Star-Telegram editors were thinking of back in 1912 when they introduced a “Good Fellows’ Club” — “to spread Christmas cheer among the little boys and girls,” according to editorials at the time.
The program’s name has changed slightly; the purpose is the same.
Last year, the Goodfellow Fund gave $50 J.C. Penney gift cards to 19,470 children. The cards can be spent only for clothing or shoes. The goal is the same this year.
While you’re thinking of Christmas gifts this weekend, please consider sending a few dollars to Goodfellows so the children of your neighbors who are less fortunate may have a few gifts, too.