Tonight, I went to the Candlelight service at my church. I have been attending church via zoom since the pandemic started and last year was not in a place mentally to go to candlelight. Stepping back into the church I was surrounded by that feeling of peace. The pastor wrapped up the service with a benediction that mentioned peace and hope and it hit me of that is what I need.

The last week has been difficult from a grieving standpoint. Friday, I missed Matt and just wanted to talk to him and ended up in a panic attack. It has been a while since one of those hit me, I was at work and had to go outside and figure out who I could call to just talk to me so I could calm down. It is hard to find peace and hope in the season when you are grieving.

I am a huge Hallmark Christmas movie fan. But this year it is leaving me with that old familiar pang of loss. Or this morning I was thinking about how if my life was one of these movies I am doing it all wrong because I should have run away from life and then I would when least expecting it would just find everything I wanted. But life is not a Hallmark movie.

Peace and hope in the Christmas season are not something that comes easy when you are missing part of yourself. As a widow I am not sure I want to ever remarry, nor do I think I need to. That does not mean that I do not have hope for the future because I do. I hope that I can work out the things that happened and I find the peace I need to move forward.

As we shop for presents and see something our love would have wanted it is easy to want to give up. Writing out Christmas cards and only signing your name can bring anything but peace. We need to remember self-care and what that means at this time of year.

For me, it is making cookies a lot of them. Writing out a few cards a night as to not overwhelm my emotions. Knowing when retreating and not being social is okay. I realize the week ahead is not going to be easy. There will be tons of moments that will make me think of him and want him to be with me.

It is easy to think of Christmas past and long for that. Us sitting on our couch exchanging the gifts that we have for each other. Sneaking onto my grandma’s side of the house to put up the gifts we got for her and then waited for her to notice. Laughing when she all but looked at the framed pictures on the wall and did not notice.

I long for the buddy the elf I was and the grinch he was. Him not getting excited over the baby Christmas tree I bought for $10 two days before Christmas. The hope for the future that I had back then because he was beside me in this adventure. Peace would fill me as I cuddled next to him just having that sense of security. Now I hope that there is a heaven and that he is up there watching over me. Waiting for the day that we will be reunited. That is the peace that I find and have to hold on to.

I find peace in those memories. Knowing that even though things will never be the same there is a hope that someday I will have a different Christmas one that does not leave me feeling drained and not looking forward to the New Year. The hope that when I do have my first Christmas in my new home that I will put up a Christmas tree while blasting Christmas music. I can see the Christmas party in my head all the things that use to bring me joy.

This last week I got to go to tell a person that my company was giving him a free heating season. He was overcome with joy and started to tear up. This is what Christmas should mean helping someone that needs it giving them hope that everything is going to be okay.

To my fellow grievers, I know that Christmas is not going to be easy and that like me some of you may only want your husband back. I wish we could all get that but unfortunately, we can’t get that. What we can do is share a story from the holiday past that makes them live on for just a moment. Makes them a part of our holidays. May we all find some peace and hope on Christmas and into the New Year.


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-