Hi, Guideposts. I'm Barbranda Lumpkins Walls, and I live in Alexandria, Virginia. My story for Guideposts is about the day my father passed away—it was on Thanksgiving 2018—and how the events that led up to that really challenged me and my family and how the day unfolded. But in the end, it was a day to be thankful.
I think losing a family member or a loved one during a holiday can be very traumatic because I think a lot of people associate that death with the holiday. So that can really take the joy out of celebrating Christmas, Fourth of July, whatever the holiday is. And you'll always reflect back on that.
But my advice is to just remember the good times with that person, maybe on that particular holiday. And take comfort in those memories and to know that they're with you in spirit.
Well, my faith really helped me during this difficult time when my father was very ill. I depended on God to see me and my family through. I talked to him a lot about the situation. And I just feel that God guided me through it all.
Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful, as we all know. In the end, when he did pass away, I had a opportunity to reflect how thankful I was that I had such a wonderful father, a father who cared for me, my brother and sister, my mother, and all of our entire family. He was just a wonderful man, very devoted and dedicated. And I was just grateful to God that He blessed me with such a person to be my father here on Earth.
My family decided to still hold our Thanksgiving meal in the aftermath of my father's death that day because we felt that's what he wanted us to do. He was a man who loved to eat. He loved his family. And we were sure that he didn't want us to stop celebrating or gathering together because he was no longer with us.
It was very subdued during the meal. We talked, but we felt the absence of my father. But we continued on and enjoyed the food. It was somewhat disconcerting when at the end of the meal, my mother, who has Alzheimer's, asked, "So where's Daddy?" And we had to remind her that he had passed away earlier that day. But it was a blessing that she didn't become upset or really agitated. We just had to remind her that he was no longer with us. And she was very calm about it. So we counted that as a huge blessing.
My advice to people who are facing difficult situations like that during a holiday, especially with the impending death of a loved one, is just to trust God. Do not be afraid to pray or to ask others to pray for you. I called on friends and family to pray with me and for me. And that was very comforting and encouraging. So be steadfast in prayer. Trust God, and just leave it all up to Him.
In this series of videos, bestselling author Karen Kingsbury talks about Christmas gift-giving, the decision to add a new puppy to her family and her Red Gloves collection of Christmas stories, available from Guideposts Books