Singing Sad Songs at Christmas. #HeartBreakHoliday. Lonely hearts and loss of loved ones this Christmas. For many there is pain, grief and death. Memories, thoughts, and remembrance can make life hard during this time. Tips for getting through the pain and the season.

Singing Sad Songs at Christmas

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Join me in warmly welcoming Anne to the blog! Anne has so much insight and wisdom! She has been on a journey, but her words proclaim God’s name. Her words will bless you whether you’re going through a hard time, or just need some reassurance of God’s presence in your life.

Singing Sad Songs at Christmas

#HeartBreak Holiday

By: Anne Brutsche

10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand (Isaiah 41:10, NLT).


Interesting, as the verse before states:

‘You are my servant.’
For I have chosen you
    and will not throw you away (Isaiah 41:9b, NLT).

I know now that God absolutely has my back in the worst circumstances and leads me forward as long as I CHOOSE to listen to His voice and obey.

One of the hardest journey’s of my life began Sept 4, 2009. My husband and I were living in a small town in Central Oregon, just doing our usual thing. I was quilting upstairs and he was watching football downstairs. I thought I would take the dog out for a romp. As I passed the couch my husband looked like he was asleep, so I tiptoed out. About 20 min later, he found me outside but looked dazed, confused!

Singing Sad Songs at Christmas. #HeartBreakHoliday. Lonely hearts and loss of loved ones this Christmas. For many there is pain, grief and death. Memories, thoughts, and remembrance can make life hard during this time. Tips for getting through the pain and the season.

Life Changes in an Instant

From that day on, began the cancer journey that changed our lives and our family forever. Diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, grade 4 brain cancer, Howard was given 3 months to live. The neurosurgeon said he could probably take out 95% of the tumor, probably giving my husband 1-1 12 yrs of life. He believed Howard would be somewhat back to normal in 4 months. Unfortunately, Howard was never the same even with surgery, chemo and radiation. He struggled with memory loss, confusion, seizures. And, of course, I struggled too. It is so difficult to see your loving husband slowly deteriorating and yet, I needed to be strong to help him: Many days, crying in the shower, crying out to God to just HELP—be there with us.

                      The Only Guarantee

Nothing in life is a guarantee. Only our Creator knows our days which He ordained before time began. I began to see miracles from God every day to encourage and strengthen us in the huge cancer quagmire. AS Howard and I prayed, His Peace enveloped us.

Howard had daily seizures because the tumor was in the left temporal lobe. Constant appointments at the hospital 45 min. away were draining. But, God held us up. Howard loved the old hymns so one of our daughters gave him a hymn book. Howard couldn’t read but he could remember the hymns tunes. We would sing at the top of our lungs in the car, on the way to appts. We also ministered to others in the waiting room as others asked why he was carrying a hymnal. I believe God was preparing us for the inevitable departure, going Home for Howard, and God would be my All and All.

God’s Promises

In all of this, my husband and I relied on each other with God as our Head. If we had not been steeped in God’s Word and a great church of Believers surrounding us with their love and help, we would have fallen apart!! In it all, I had to cling to Is 41:10. God was there. He promised to strengthen and help me!! I believe that head, heart, and soul.

Howard passed away March 7, 2011. My Mom passed away March 11, 2010, so March is a heavy month for me. But, God has restored my joy because I know He is with me.

(Isaiah 40:31, NLT) is another great verse:

31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint. (my Mom’s lifelong verse)

Walking Hand in Hand with God

Having fought the fight for 1 1/2 years, God took Howard Home, but Jesus did not leave me. I asked the Pastor, who prayed over my dear husband who was comatose if he would ask God to give me a clear direction of what to do without my partner in life and love of my life. God immediately comforted me and let me know that He would not abandon me, that He wasn’t’ finished with me yet.

I felt I was to lead a Bible study at my church but shared with a friend that I felt led to lead a Kay Arthur book: Lord I Want To Know You. Wow! I began with this book in a weekly Bible Study with my friend, as she had never been in a Bible study. Wow! God led me through the valley to His green pasture of rest and recuperation. Plus my friend and I grew in our faith together. I was then encouraged to lead at my church.

I don’t want anyone to think that it was an easy transition from happily married for 44 1/2 yrs. to a widow. On the contrary, it took an intentional choice to CHOOSE God: His Word, His Promises, His Love. My only other choice was to choose loneliness, depression, pain. I realized that not making the choice to choose God put me in a default mode of human sadness and hopelessness.

Singing Sad Songs at Christmas. #HeartBreakHoliday. Lonely hearts and loss of loved ones this Christmas. For many there is pain, grief and death. Memories, thoughts, and remembrance can make life hard during this time. Tips for getting through the pain and the season.

Choosing Jesus

And so, when that first Christmas came Dec 25, 2011, I had to choose Jesus’ power and strength to rely on when my weakness was huge! Yes, I sat in church on Christmas Eve and cried, but many arms encircled me. The Bible study ladies were always there to call, have coffee, and most of all pray. Christmas can be a very sad time for those of us who struggle with health and death especially living alone.

Tips for Dealing with Death Around Christmas

I want to encourage you to first: go to God in prayer. Remember, if you have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, He is WITHIN you in the power and person of the Holy Spirit. He will handle all your sorrow and pain. He will also empower you to help others in similar circumstances. Secondly, remember to be thankful to God in and for all things. I have begun a journey of writing on Thankfulness as it is the key to having a rich, personal relationship with Jesus and the Father Himself.

One of the most difficult verses to understand is (Ephesians 5: 20, NLT):

20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

No, I cannot thank God for taking my husband, but I can thank Him for being right there with me. Jesus comforted me in the worst pain in every moment and He showed me where to go, what to do. I truly believe God allows or causes circumstances in our lives for our ultimate good. I do not ask God why He took my Howard, but I trust Him to teach me and grow my faith, especially in devastating circumstances.

Another verse is (1Thessalonians 5:18, NLT):

18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

This means to me that my prayers, joy or thankfulness do not change in dire circumstances. Sadness lasts for a time, but God will also restore and hold me in these circumstances. He rejoices when I rejoice and feels my pain when I am hurt, confused, even in doubt. I can trust Him in everything. He is my Rock and Redeemer.

Let Friends Surround

The last thing I want to say, in how I navigated through the pain, is to allow friends and family to help. Many people hibernate when feeling sad, wallowing in self-pity, or counting everyone else’s blessings instead of coming to the throne of Grace.

One of the most difficult things for me is being in church and hearing the hymn: In Christ Alone. That happens to be Howard’s all-time favorite song and it was played and sung at his memorial service. Just this past Thanksgiving, I was at church with my youngest daughter and family and the worship team began that song. The Lord Himself touched me inside, giving me peace and joy because He is the ultimate fulfillment in life.” In Christ Alone my hope is found.” It was the first time that I did not break down when singing that song and it has been five years.

Abiding with God

So, if you are in the grieving stage, never give up looking up to the Father who loves you unconditionally! It is He who will bring you through your sorrow and deepest pain. He will draw you close. Now go and abide with Him. I pray my ideas have been helpful. I am just beginning my writing journey ‘out loud’ so I pray there is one lonely person that my words have touched.

In Christ Alone,




My name is Anne Brutsche. I am a 72 yr old grandma and widow, have 3 grown daughters and 6 grandchildren. I accepted the Lord Jesus as my LORD and Savior when I was 12 yrs old at a Billy Graham crusade. God is my Rock. Married for 44 yrs., I lost my husband to Brain Cancer 5 yrs ago. My joy is in the Lord and He has given me a new zest for life and a mission to help others who are hurting

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  1. Anne, thank you for letting us into your life! What a testimony to God’s love and faithfulness! Thank you for sharing God’s word that got you through! i am thankful Go had me read your story today! I have been Blessed! God Bless! Your sister at Sitting among Friends:)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your journey Anne! I’m excited to see where God leads you. Your pain has a purpose. With so many hurting out there, you have something to offer.
    God’s riches blessings to you!

    1. thanks, Julie, for giving me a chance to pour out my heart on your blog. God has Blessed me in good times and bad ones. I am glad I got the chance to share how He was absolutely there with me in devastating loss. He also gave Howard the courage to go on and be at Peace with cancer. My husband was a testimony to many of strength and courage through the whole disease. I pray those struggling now, that they gain Peace through Jesus as well. Anne

  3. Anne your beautiful story is such a testimony… and Julie thank you for sharing her words! May God help us all see that Christmas may not be joyful for everyone due to circumstances, but that we can all come to the manger thankful for the birth of a savior and the ultimate joy in the promise of eternal life. ♥ God bless you both!

  4. Anne! Thanks for sharing… I love the part where you talk about intentionally choosing God… it’s a daily, often hourly choice… and not always the easy one. Like you said, default mode it depression! Thank you for being obedient to God and sharing your story!

  5. How beautiful Anne! I love how you CHOSE Jesus over all the other options and feelings you could have chosen. Praying He continues to show up in the small details and wrap His loving arms around you.

  6. Thank you for your wisdom and encouragement today. My aunt passed away just before Thanksgiving, and it has me thinking about celebrating God’s goodness and love in the midst of pain… this post was an encouragement to me.

    1. So sorry for your loss, Ally. Yes, I believe that Thankfulness is so important to think about, especially thanking God for all He has given you and the people He has provided in your life. I pray you will think about thoughts, actions that your aunt passed on to you that are so special. Thanking our Lord for that person and the influence he/she had on our lives brings immeasurable joy, not right at the moment but later on. I pray Jesus bring you great comfort and His Joy this Christmas. Thank you for encouraging me, Anne

  7. About a year ago I also lost my husband to Multiforme Glioblastoma. We too endured the months of surgery, radiation & chemo and the weeks of hospice, while I still had to work full time and raise our 13 year old son. Time went by in a blur as I numbly went through each day.

    Looking back, I can now see the circumstances and people God placed in our lives to ease us through that time. God is faithful and will never leave or forsake us. I miss my husband constantly, but remind myself of the years of joy and the family God blessed us with. Your article is comforting as I face the holidays. Thank you for putting my feelings into words.

    1. Your loss is very fresh Vicki! I will pray that you and your son will feel God’s comforting presence throughout the holidays and beyond. Sue

    2. Vicki: I am so glad my words of encouragement helped you. I remember the pain of fresh loss. I pray God would comfort you, bring you Peace and would provide loving, Christian people to help you through the quagmire. I can certainly identify with your numbness!!! But then, the dam broke! I was at a Fry’s grocery, ran in to get Starbucks, before heading over to Hospice. My husband was in a coma, but I felt I needed to be there to pray, talk and just be near. My daughter was waiting for me in the car. Well, I had just paid for my coffee and then ‘Unchained Melody’ came on the speakers in the store! Yikes, Howard and I used to dance to that!!! I grabbed my coffee, ran out of the store crying, sobbing , actually. I explained to my daughter what had happened and then we prayed! But, just a month ago, someone posted the song on FB. God allowed me to listen, not fall apart, and just REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES with the love of my life. I pray God blesses you richly this Christmas. Hugs, Anne

  8. “I realized that not making the choice to choose God put me in default mode of human sadness and hopelessness.” How very true! It’s a deliberate choice…sometimes minute by minute. Thank-you for sharing your story Anne and I pray you continue to sense that you are not alone, He is with you every step of the way.

    1. Thank you, Susanne. One of my daughter’s names is Suzanne. I do realize I am not alone. He is with me as well as other sisters and brothers in the Lord. Bless you for wiring and Merry Christmas, Anne

  9. Anne, thank you for your transparency. You are a walking testimony of God’s comfort, peace and sustaining power. I appreciate our advice. I know several people who are facing this holiday season without their loved one for the first time. This is a great tool. Blessings to you!

    1. I cried when I read your message. My prayer, from the writing of this post and any future writing, would be that God would use me for His Glory. My goal in life is to testify to His unfailing Grace, Provision, and His Love—— even in great loss. God has my back and I know I can count on Him to hold me up. Blessings to you, Anne

  10. Oh my, God has taken you on a rocky road but I am encouraged that you aren trusting Him to be faithful and to help you through anything!!! I am so excited to see you are trying to start a blog. I am going to try too, in the New Year. This is a goal but I need to learn how to start. Think I will have to have one of my daughters get me started. LOL! God is so loving, kind, faithful and if it is meant to be, He will provide the people and tools to get started. I never thought I would write on line!! But, Julie contacted me and here we are. I am praying you will begin the journey of writing also. Blessings, Anne

    1. Melody: This means so much to me to have you write those encouraging words. I plan to continue writing and God has given me His unfailing grace to give me a topic. Maybe you can show me how to blog! LOL! Teach an ‘old dog’ new tricks.

  11. Pingback: The Hardest Time of the Year #HeartBreakHoliday - Unmasking the Mess

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