The Fear of Christmas Future

How you feel when your friends are octogenarians

Melissa Gouty
6 min readDec 19, 2019


Photo by Michal Pechardo on Unsplash

My friends are all much older than I am, several of them in their 80s and in declining health. The odds of us all being together next Christmas are decreasing every day. Sad thought. Thinking about impending loss puts a damper on my Christmas spirit, but I can’t seem to stop.

No one wants to talk about it. Death can be a very sad topic, especially during the holidays when everything is merry and bright. Who wants to utter words of gloom and doom when all around you it’s about sweets and treats, carols and cards?

You might think I’m depressed. (I’m not.) You may believe I’m afraid of getting older and being “diminished” and depleted. (Not really.) You can even assume that I’m some sniveling, weak, woman who fears the future. (You’d be totally wrong.)

But I AM a woman who faces reality, even when that reality makes me a bit fearful.

Christmas fear vs. Christmas cheer

It’s not exactly Christmas fear, but it’s not Christmas cheer either. The feeling I have is of a desperate need to enjoy this holiday — and every day that I have with my friends — because our days are numbered.

Granted, I may be the youngest of our group, but I may be the first to go. I could get hit by a careening car while I walk across the street. I could have a brain aneurysm like my beloved aunt who died at the age of 58. I could be diagnosed with a rapidly progressing disease and be dead by the end of next year. But the odds of that are far, far less than the odds of something happening to one of my octogenarian friends.

My friends are intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, stylish women who prove that getting older does NOT mean that you stop living. They’re active participants in civic organizations, caretakers of husbands, leaders in the community, lovers of grandchildren, and women unafraid to travel anywhere in the world. High-achievers, organizers, and go-getters, they don’t stop “DOING” because they’ve had lots of birthdays.

But the aging process is slowing them down and causing me to reflect on what lies ahead.

An ode to female friendship



Melissa Gouty

Writer, teacher, speaker, and observer of human nature. Content for HVAC & Plumbing Businesses. Author of The Magic of Ordinary. LiteratureLust and GardenGlory.