Standing together


As the holidays approach I decided to do something totally new and different from old family traditions. I began decorating the house for Christmas before Thanksgiving Day. In our family, putting up Christmas decorations had always begun the weekend following Thanksgiving and each of us pitched in, standing together, to turn our home into a festive holiday retreat.

I have struggled these past five years with decorating for Christmas. The first two years the home remained bare of any decoration reflecting Christmas and the holiday was spent away from the house. However, this year my home will be filled with my boys and their wives. Suddenly, I feel there is reason to rejoice again. There once again seems to be a purpose in creating the look and feel of Christmas in the house.

Standing together is the only way anyone can journey through grief well. Knowing that you are not alone is important. Feeling support from both family and friends can give you hope to replace despair; laughter instead of tears; resolve instead of defeat.

As I worked in my home the past few days, I found energy in putting out some favorite decorations. Penguins and nativity sets are two things I enjoy collecting and placing about my home. This picture of four penguins on a Christmas stocking helps me envision those who stand near, cheering me forward.

Who do you have in your corner? What names come to mind when you realize life would be harder without them in this stage of your life? How do you remind yourself that you truly are not alone in mourning your old life, missing your loved one, and facing another year of tough holidays?

Perhaps this is your first year missing your loved one. Trying to picture celebrating anything seems impossible for you. If this is your situation, I am so sorry. No one else gets to determine or judge what you do or don’t do this year. It is important to realize that you do have choices. Decide what it is that will allow you to have a reason to get up in the morning. Is it your kids or your family? Knowing that your loved one would want you to live each day and learn to smile again? All these reasons helped motivate me throughout those first few years.

Find people who can help by standing together with you. Allowing them to be nearby in this difficult time may be just the blessing and open door you need to face this next month.

Until next time –


With the holidays approaching, Grief Letters makes the perfect gift for those walking through loss and sadness. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!


Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.