2019 Holiday Gift Guide,  Personal

Life, Grief & Our Holiday Gift Guide

Life, Grief & Our Holiday Gift Guide

I debated even writing this post because it was so personal but my mind went back to May/June when we lost my Grandma and the weeks following which seem like such a blur. You can read about that on our post Grief & Why It Is So Hard but back to the last portion of 2019. Life is hard, but of course we all muddle through and find our way. I learned this year so many lessons, some the hard way and while I did start a Holiday Gift Guide I know that it was left incomplete.

Rewind to Thanksgiving week. We were meal planning, catching up with family and nailing down plans for the big meal on the Monday of that week. I talked to my Aunt not  knowing the phone would ring again several hours later to say my Uncle had passed away from a massive heart attack. This literally crushed me. I immediately called my parents and sent a text to Patrick asking him to come home ASAP. I knew I had to explain this to Jack and it was going to be hard. You see some people are family, but some people are extra special family and this Uncle was so much more than an Uncle. He was like another Grandparent and this hurt me to the core of my being.

The next days were again a blur. We planned to host Thanksgiving because most of the food had already been bought, but I cooked and cleaned with tear filled eyes. I booked a rental house for our trip and we picked up my Dad for one of the saddest trips to a place that had made me so happy in the past.

Family came from near and far and showed truly the impact that my uncle had made on the world. He was a hero to many and loved by all. I saw though that my Aunt was lost. We hugged and cried. I knew her heart was shattered into a million pieces.


We returned home from the trip on my 34th birthday. Sad, exhausted, not feeling like a birthday at all but my husband made sure that he took me to my favorite local restaurant and we made the best of the day.


Fast forward 19 days after the first phone call. We had company and the phone rang. I knew that something was wrong the minute I answered. On the other end I heard the dreaded words “I have bad news” and just like that my Aunt had joined her husband in heaven. 19 days without him on the earth was too long for her. Her heart was broken and no one could fix it, not even the best doctors.

Another trip to West Virginia, another tear filled service, more broken hearts and to think we had just done this not 3 weeks prior. Christmas was just not the same and life will never be the same without these important people in my  life. They loved us without question, welcomed us into their home as if it was ours and loved these boys of mine (big one included) just as much as I do. They excused little boy messes, praised our parenting and we never left their home without hug after hug and the important “I love you more” that we grew to love and look forward to no matter what.


I came home to a lot of emails from reps for products to be featured on our Holiday Gift guide so here is the portion of this post to them:

To Whom It May Concern,

Death is something that is hard. It takes time to heal from and our Holiday Gift Guide is something I take pride in but honestly my heart couldn’t handle it this year. I struggled to even wrap gifts for our boys for Christmas morning. I struggled to put on a smile and honestly my laptop has not even been plugged in 1 time since we returned home. I have just gotten to the point where I can sit at my desktop and start catching up on things, especially emails.

I am asking that everyone who was expecting reviews for the HGG please accept my apologies. I will be adding your reviews to the Valentine’s Guide and if it was a children’s product it will also be added to a guide I am working on that will include birthday gifts for children that will run from now through the end of July.

I never expected that life would take these types of turns but I would hope that we can work together to not only get the reviews posted but also know that the unexpected happens and that I am ultimately trying to make this right in a situation that is very new to me.


I am looking forward to a brighter 2020. A 2020 that provides love, healing, strength and so much more. This is also my 10th year blogging, so expect some surprises.

Samantha hails from Virginia and is a proud wife to a retired Deputy Sheriff and mother to two amazing little boys named Jack & William. A veteran product reviewer; Samantha has been reviewing products for 8 years and offers high quality product reviews with original photography.

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