For years my grandma has gotten depressed around Thanksgiving we all knew it was because it was my grandfather’s favorite holiday. Years past and then it became her being grumpy was because it was the last time, she saw my uncle before he passed. The Holiday Blues I never really understood until last year when I struggled to find even one thing to be thankful for.

This year is not going to be easier. There will always be empty seats at my table Matt is not the first one and he will not be the last. Each year I know that the holiday blues will hit me. I also know that I have things to be thankful for I just need to remind myself.

Last Year

Last year the holidays came superfast after Matt died. I was not prepared to deal with them. Grandma had just gotten home from the hospital and was not doing well. We were getting around two hours of sleep a night. I was exhausted and didn’t want to be alive. I was convinced it would be the last with my grandma and the last in this house. My dad told me I had to celebrate, and I had to make dinner that is what Matt, and my grandmother would have wanted. He was right.

Thanksgiving morning, I woke to everyone posting their Happy Thanksgiving post. And one hit me hard it was Matt’s friend and he mentioned Matt and how thankful he was to know him. Grandma had no clue that it was even Thanksgiving she had delirium and was completely out of it. I spent a lot of time crying in the kitchen that day. My sister agreed to give me a break and stay that night through the weekend. I had a hard case of the holiday blues.

Friday, I went to a friend’s house after work and had way too much to drink. Alcohol was not the solution to my holiday blues. I ended up talking to my sister when I walked in the door and just lost it. Staying strong was the only option I had, and it took its toll on me. Sunday, I went to his sisters for their family celebration, and it was good to be surrounded by them but also left me just reeling in the loss. His absence was hard for me.


When I start to feel sad and down, I think of something to be thankful for. I will not let the holiday blues ruin my holidays this year. So here it goes I am thankful for:

  1. Knowing Matt- The kind caring man that stole my heart. Hearing his laugh, watching him smile, laughing as he geeked out.
  2. The eight years I got to love him and get that love in return. I still love him and that will be something I can say until I die.
  3. The extra time I have gotten with my grandma. The doctors said 1-2 weeks and she has made it a year.
  4. My family. They have been there to support me through this last year of my life.
  5. Matt’s Family for continuing to allow me to be a part of their family. Spending time with them the weekend of his death anniversary helped me through.

The holidays suck and there are going to be times that skipping them would be easier than fighting the holiday blues. But not living is not a choice anymore. I refuse to wallow in my own sadness this year. Matt might not be here with me in person. He may not overeat and then mock me for watching Christmas movies after everyone leaves. There will be no begging me to make a cheesecake or non-gluten-free desert. But I am thankful for each of those memories from the past. I am thankful for him.


Laurel became a young widow on October 2, 2020, her husband Matt had a heart attack he was only 37. Matt was a juvenile diabetic and they always knew he would die young but she never thought that she could be a widow at 32. Navigating grief with anxiety, regrets and guilt have been a struggle for Laurel. They had gotten into a fight days before he died and they had talked about divorce. One of the things that helped her the most is finding other widows who understood the pain she was feeling. In February she decided to start writing her story. Self-care is something else she started to do daily and art has become her outlet to get what she is feeling out which she shares on her Instagram. Being a young widow comes with its own challenges but we are not alone in this journey.
You can find her on Instagram @HealingPorcupine or her personal blog link-