In the moments after Matt died I was faced with more heartache. And in the midst of all that Thanksgiving happened. I was not grateful for anything. As my struggles continued I could not see how I would ever be grateful again. 


What widow in her first holiday season is happy. I can say I was not happy the first the second or the third. The empty seats at the table make that hard. But I am going into my fourth set of holidays without Matt and my second without my grandma. 


That first year I was all ready to skip Thanksgiving. My dad told me that I had to do it and I did just to make everyone around me happy. I watched the parade with my grandma who had no idea what day it was. But I went through the motions just grateful for the years before were we cooked together. 


Looking back I had so much to be grateful for and I just could not see it. I had my years with Matt and the time with him will always be thankful for. He taught me how to let someone in and love, and I learned what I needed from a relationship. 


I am grateful for the extra time I got to spend with my grandma. Through the many nights that were bad, there were always a few that made it worth everything. I got another Thanksgiving and Christmas with her and she was with it those days. 


Forever grateful for the friends who supported me as I went through all that. Checking on me and making sure that I was as okay as I could have been. They listened to me talk about my grief and just supported me in all of it. And encouraged me to look for love again. 

Grateful that I took the time to heal all the broken parts of my heart and soul. I was able to know what I needed and grieve in a way that was best for me. That I was able to still be a part of Matt’s family and not lose even more. 


I am grateful that when the time was right I met a person who has allowed me to have a second chance at love. Grateful that I am happy again and that life is not a struggle. I have a person who is taking care of me. 


I am grateful that I found this group and the people who understand my pain when no one else did. Grateful that I have been able to share my story with all of you. 


Do you know someone ready to make a meaningful impact this holiday season? Join us in embracing the true spirit of giving by getting involved in the Hope for Widows Foundation’s ‘Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program’ virtual initiative, now in its third year. This program directly supports widows who may be struggling to provide gifts and essentials for their children during the holiday season.

For many widows facing financial challenges, the choice between keeping the lights on, putting food on the table, and buying presents can be heart-wrenching. When you add the responsibilities of solo parenting, the weight of grief, and the toll it takes emotionally and physically, the burden becomes even greater.

To become a sponsor and access more information, and details visit the following link: 

For our widows/hope sisters in the community, please stay tuned as we’ll be sending out widow applications for sponsorship this holiday season very soon.

Let’s come together and make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.


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-