Holiday Preparations

December 4, 2023

Dear Mitch,

I was watching our neighbors helping each other putting up Christmas decorations.

It reminded me of how you and I always tag teamed this task.  You would be busy at work at the grocery store.  An extra busy time of year for you with everyone having extra celebrations.  Instead of complaining about how tired you were, you helped the kids and I.  You always did such a nice job with the outdoor set up.  You’d ask for my input but it really was your vision.  I always felt such pride driving up to the house all lit up during this time.

I would take part in decorating the house inside.  I loved Christmas decorating.  At one time, I would have changed all the bedding, curtains and furniture to match the Christmas color theme if I had the money and storage for it all.

We would have decorated one room all Grinch for you.

That was your favorite Christmas special, the first Grinch animated show.  You even knew all the words to the Grinch song and would sing it to us all throughout the season.  We had a good laugh when we moved back to Bottineau, you were asked to dress up as the Grinch.  You loved playing that character.  I can still see your huge smile and eyes twinkling underneath the mask.

Decorating the tree was always a time we set aside with a Christmas special on the TV for all of us to do together.  I have many photos showing off this tradition in our family.  One of the children brings it up every year.

These are all memories I look back on with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.

It is hard for me to want to decorate for the holidays now that you are gone.  Yes, I can enjoy the coziness brought with all the twinkle lights, but without someone to share it with, it seems insignificant.

Another thing I loved was hunting down the perfect gift for everyone. Once I had the presents, I took pride in lovingly wrapping them up. With grief, I cannot make the simplest of decisions, looking for THE gift for everyone feels insurmountable.  Luckily, family is giving me grace but I feel like I am letting everyone down including myself.  It’s just so hard to force joy when I feel a continental divide from it right now.

Grievers before me tell me this will lessen

and I will find joy and energy to do these traditions once more.   It just won’t be this year and maybe a few after that.  I guess if I want to find a positive, it would be that if I want to live more minimalistically, having less holiday decorations would definitely help with that.  Gotta find an upside somehow as I continue to learn to live with grief in my heart.

With all my Love,


Did this letter resonate with you? I would love to hear about it! 

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  1. It certainly resonated with me Nicole, I am reading it for the third time with smiles and tears. Smiles as I see that beautiful smile of that sweet man you married. I hope you know the immense joy you brought to Mitch’s life. I recall like yesterday the first time we met Mitch and him telling us about meeting you. Whoops, now I have tears again.

    Heaven gained another Angel when they welcomed Mitch. With love and hugs dear Nicole. ❤️

    1. Bruce,
      Thank you for your beautiful words. You and Marianne have the same special love for one another as Mitch and I do. Both of you are beautiful souls who have enriched our lives.
      With love,

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