Accepting family estrangement is the hardest during the holidays. Perhaps you are dealing with family issues that are getting you down.

I know how you feel. I spent seven years estranged from my family, and it was awful. The holidays were the worst because they reminded me things were not right in my life.

I felt powerless to change it or make it go away. Instead, I suffered silently.

Some of you know exactly what I mean. You may not be estranged from your family, but you have severe problems in your family of origin. Perhaps a rift between siblings, parents, or even cousins.

Whatever the problems, it is hard for you to celebrate the holidays because of a strain or a complete family break from those who used to call you one of their own.

In this post, I will discuss accepting family estrangement during the holidays and offer some tips to help you manage through the season.

Of course, the best action plan would be to reconcile, but if this is not possible, there are ways to help you survive the next couple of months.

RELATED: How to Move On From Family Estrangement: 5 Ways to Heal Your Heart

Accepting Family Estrangement at the Holidays

If you have family issues, you know how bad it feels to be estranged from family during the holidays. For me, the holidays didn’t just reinforce loss; there was always a good amount of shame that slapped me in the face for about three months.

From October to December, I swallowed my heart and held my nose through all the good cheer; accepting family estrangement was difficult. I tolerated the holidays for many years, hoping they would end fast.

Don’t get me wrong, I created family memories with my kids, decorated, sang all the songs, and ate my fair share of turkey and pumpkin pie.

But shame lurked deep in the recesses of my soul, reminding me my family was broken. I felt broken too. I missed family members, and it hurt.

It hurt more than you can imagine.

RELATED: 3 Best Tips On How to Deal with Shame and Guilt

how to move on from family estrangement

Do you have a family rift or a family estrangement? Do you need ideas to help build memories with your family? Purchase your ebook or paperback on Amazon or at your favorite digital store. 

How Common Is Family Estrangement?

Family estrangement is more common than you think. Sadly, no one wants to talk about it. We believe we are the only ones hurting, never knowing that some of our friends have the same problem.

See also  How to Set Boundaries with Family Members the Right Way

When friends asked what I was doing on the Big Day, I always felt the need to make my life sound happy and fun. And that I was doing just fine. I hid the fact that I was angry and even depressed about the hole in my heart.

After covering up the pain publicly, it triggered all the old hurts privately. I spent many hours replaying (obsessing) the last days before our family estrangement, never quite understanding how things got so bad.

And then all the lies started…

Unfortunately, all the garbage I believed about myself rolled around in my head, telling me things that were not true. Feelings of rejection, abandonment, and aloneness penetrated my heart and sent me to places I never wish to go again.

Those horrible thoughts of inadequacy and shame day after day relentlessly accused me of my failure while everyone else was singing “Silent Night” and “Joy to the World.”

My world had very little joy, and my nights were silent. Unfortunately, I felt there was no hope of it ever getting better. There were days I wanted to stuff the Elf on the Shelf in the freezer and call it quits.

But I had to keep moving on. Accepting family estrangement wasn’t a permanent stop, but it was a temporary state of mind I had to accept until God moved.

RELATED: How to Stop Negative Self-Talk: 6 Tips to Break the Bad Habit

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accepting family estrangement

7 Best Survival Tips For Accepting Family Estrangement

Accepting family estrangement during the holidays is hard when your family ignores you. Deep inside, it hurts knowing the people you have loved and trusted don’t want to be with you.

Instead of wallowing in pain, try these seven suggestions and focus on the season’s real meaning: Jesus.

1. Focus on others

My husband and kids started feeding those without a home on Thanksgiving morning. It was such a great way to start the day. It became a meaningful time for us and set the tone for the day.

We did other volunteer projects, but this was special. Focusing on others helped me realize how much I had to be grateful for in my life. Accepting family estrangement this time of year was more manageable when I stayed busy.

RELATED: Family Bonding Activities: The Best Way to Spend Time Together As a Family

2. Attend church services

Advent is such a great time to bond as a family and focus on the real reason for the season. Without my faith, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the holidays.

Accepting family estrangement was more manageable when I had my husband and kids with me at church.

See also  Positive Parenting Tips: 6 Candid Tips From Teens to Parents

3. Pray

During the 2016 holidays, I prayed that it would be the last holiday I would spend without my family. Accepting family estrangement as a permanent thing was not my goal. God was gracious and answered my prayers.

Whether you reconcile or not, prayer is the only thing that can change things. Pray for your family’s heart to soften and that an opportunity will arise to make amends.

RELATED: War Room Prayer Strategy: 7 Tips to Pray Powerful Prayers

4. Live your life

Living your life, moving forward, and permitting yourself to smile and celebrate the season is essential. There is no point in ruining everyone else’s holiday because you are not accepting family estrangement very well.

Tuck those feelings away and save them for your journal or a counselor. In the meantime, have fun!

5. Process your feelings

Put your feelings down on paper. Write through the pain. It is a healthy way to process your feelings about the holidays. If you don’t want to journal, talk with someone.

If you are bitter, talk to a counselor. Accepting family estrangement is difficult to process; it’s tough during the holidays.

6. Create a family of choice

Find another family or friend to do things with during the holidays. You can’t pick your family, but you can choose your friends. They will never be your family, but it does help to be with other people you care about so you don’t feel lonely.

Plan a special meal with them or do a dessert and carols party. Whatever you do, don’t isolate.

7. Make your own family memories

Start your own family traditions. Make the season something you and your family look forward to every year. Decorate, take a carriage ride, make fun meals, and volunteer. You can only control what you do. Make those choices positive.

Check out the FREE letters to Santa pdf included in this post; it also makes a great keepsake you will love forever.

RELATED: 50 Awesome Christmas Activities For the Family That Are Actually Fun!

letter to Santa template pdf

Get your FREE letter to Santa template pdf that also makes a great keepsake!

How Do I Survive the Holidays Alone?

You can do many other things when spending Christmas away from family, but I found these things most helpful. My prayers go out to you and those you love.

When accepting family estrangement during the holidays, nothing is better than celebrating the reason for the season—Jesus.

Some days will be more challenging than others, but keep reminding yourself that God loves you most of all.  He will never leave you or forsake you, even if others have.

See also  How to Discipline Kids: 29 Easy Ways to Get Obedience

Check out these verses about God never leaving or forsaking you. They will encourage you through the holidays and help you to get through the pain. I pray you will make the most of your holiday and live fully.

May God’s love shine on you during this most difficult time

Accepting family estrangement during the holidays can be difficult. What do you do to avoid feeling sad and alone during the holidays? Comment below.

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Included is biblical advice to help couples develop new behaviors and strengthen their marriage with healthy boundaries. With over 30 years of marriage experience, there are practical tips to overcome old behavior patterns and rekindle a marriage relationship rooted in God’s love.

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Got Family Problems? There is Help and Hope!

Are you struggling with family issues that have resulted in a family rift or a family estrangement? Are you feeling a sense of shame, anger, or rejection?  Check out my book Estranged: Finding Hope When Your Family Falls Apart on Amazon or at your favorite digital store.

In it, I share my own experience of a seven-year estrangement from my Christian family and how we eventually reconciled. Furthermore, I provide practical advice to help you navigate your family issues. Don’t let the pain of estrangement hold you back.

Allow God to assist you in healing, no matter what has happened within your family. Remember, there is always hope to be found, even when things seem to be falling apart.

A farm scene with a farmhouse upside down sitting on a grass field with a lake in the background. Creating Family Memories Book

Get Creating Family Memories. This book will help you manage your family so you have more time to be intentional with your kids. It includes a schedule, too. You can get it at your favorite digital bookstore.

Join the group Christian Family Living on Facebook

Continue the conversation on Facebook and join the Christian Family Living group. This is a place for Christian women to freely talk about parenting, marriage, faith, family, and culture. Being a Christian is hard! Let’s do it together. Most of all, a sense of humor is required. Got memes? Bring it on!

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Julie is a wife, mom, teacher, author, and blogger. She writes about Christian family living, marriage, parenting with a touch of humor.


    • Thanks, Olivia. Getting through the holidays can be tough when there are family issues. I hope it was a meaningful time despite any issues. Most of all, that they were resolved.

  1. Accepting family estrangement is a challenging task that many individuals face. Some feel like they are alone while others are left to face it alone and in an unfamiliar environment. This is a sad and depressing time of year, but as you become more comfortable with your situation you will begin to realize that your problems are much less important than those of your loved ones.

    The best way to accept family estrangement is to know that there is help available and to use it. While it can be difficult to accept the truth about your situation, the sooner you begin to get over this loss, the better off you will be when it is time for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special events. It is important to not let the fact that you have lost your family members to death, divorce, or some other tragedy cause you to wallow in sadness and hopelessness. You need to look at things objectively and accept the loss of your family members in order to move forward in the future.

    The good news is that there are professionals out there that can help you if you need them. In addition to counseling services, there are also support groups that can provide you with hope and guidance. Many people have been able to regain their faith by accepting the loss of their loved ones in a loving and respectful manner. There is no reason why you cannot do the same thing. It is not a hopeless situation and there is no reason why you should not feel a sense of hope about your situation. There is help available to you if you are ready to take advantage of it. It is important to understand that your situation is unique and that your situation has a lot to do with you and who you are.

    • Such good advice, pastor. The perfect scenario would be to work things out. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world that does not always bring a happy ending in our time. We can trust God to keep working on our behalf even when we feel there is nothing left to do but wait on Him. In the meantime, counseling is a great way to work through some of the pain and find ways to move on with your life in a healthy manner.

  2. The holidays are wonderful, but they can definitely stir up some unpleasant feelings as well. I love your suggestion about creating your own family memories to cope with feelings of estrangement. The more happy experiences we have with the holidays, the more we can let go of the negative ones.

    • I hope these tips will help you, especially if you are estranged from the family. God knows your deepest hurts. He is there holding your hand despite the broken relationships. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

  3. This is a rough subject, I am so thankful that you covered it. Holidays can be painful for many. I love the idea of making a family of choice.

    • I had to do that when I was estranged from my family. It was helpful to have others love us when we felt unlovable. God provides others to show us love when our family can’t at the moment. He is good.

  4. How sad that this seems to be a common experience….We are experiencing it in our family as well, and it is keeping us from celebrating holidays with our granddaughters. I will definitely continue to pray specifically to be reunited by next year, and continue to hope. Thanks for this encouraging post for all of us estranged from family.

    • Ann Marie, I am so sorry you are having this issue with your family. I pray you can work things out soon. Fasting and prayer have a way of breaking strongholds that are otherwise not broken. I pray God’s love will surround you as you walk through this difficult time.

  5. Julie, this is such a tender post. I am very familiar with having a broken family and the pain of the holidays. God has brought me far but I still sometimes find myself wishing for what should have been. Wrapping you and all your commenters here in prayer right now … ❤

    • Donna, thank you so much for your comment. I love your reading your posts. You have such meaningful things to say. I am sorry about your family. It is not an easy row to hoe. I have come to a place of surrounding my expectations and letting God work. He is bigger than our messes.

  6. Being estranged from family can be so difficult, especially during the holidays. Thank you for sharing your heart and your experience with others who are hurting. I pray that others will find your tips helpful.

    • Lydia, thanks for your comments. Estrangement is especially difficult during the holidays. It is very isolating. But God is bigger than our pain and brokenness. He will sustain us while we wait for Him to work.

  7. Such a useful post! I love how you tie in your story with practical tips, Julie. Yes, prayer is the one thing that can truly change hearts and to provide true reconciliation. ❤️ Your story has truly inspired me in my prayer life.

  8. It’s hard to “live” when your heart is aching because of an estranged relationship. These are good tips. Fasting and praying has helped in many situations where nothing else did.

    • Susan, I am so sorry you are living with an estranged relationship. It is not easy, but God will provide in the desert. I found volunteering to be another way to ease the pain. It kept my mind off of my own junk. I will be praying for a reconciliation soon. Thanks for your comment.

  9. I know this is an older post, but this is something that is all to familiar to me. My mother has been estranged for many years and many times I just don’t see a bath back to reconciliation this side of heaven. She has severed ties with all family and suffers from what I believe to be borderline personality disorder. I reach out to her occasionally via email through out the year and I went to see her last year when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was so bitter. Refuses to see me but blames me for not being a part of my life or knowing my children. It’s embarrassing to be a Christian but to have these rifts. It’s embarassing to live 20 minutes away from a parent but to not have seen them in 15-20 years. When I saw her last, I said that I was sorry she had been hurt and that I missed her and she said “You see, how you turn this around on me” If I hadn’t of been bawling, I probably would have laughed. I also have broken relationships with 2 of 3 adult siblings.

    There is so much shame in being estranged. I have really struggled with self worth in the past even thinking that every thing is my fault and that I’m a wrecking ball where ever I go. 4 years ago I was struggling with chronic illness and had become very selfish and wrapped up in survival mode. I was hurtful to the people around me and I had a blow out with my MIL. We were close friends and this rift has still not healed. In fact it spread to other family members and she shared her hurt and anger with other adult siblings. So I couldn’t help but think… I did it again. These thoughts still sometimes creep in but my husband assures me that things were said on both sides and that we took from the situation what we needed to work on and that’s all we can be responsible for. We have tried to put healthy boundaries in place, but they have been viewed as being shut out. Ie my childrens activities had several uncomfortable comments and gave me extreme anxiety so instead of inviting them to every game, maybe we invite them to 1 or 2. I just feel an immense pressure to prove to people that I am not a bad person. I feel in all of my rifts that I am made to feel like it’s entirely my fault, entirely my responsibility to fix it but no one else wants to put any effort in but still continue to blame me. It’s been very difficult and we do our best to enjoy the holidays – having young children certainly make this easier. We’ve also created a haven among friends but this is frowned upon by our family when we choose to spend time with people who actually like me. Very difficult. I really have tried to improve what I felt was my role in all situations but there are still consequences for sin even after apologizing. I just pray for everyone going through this that you will honestly evaluate your role in the rift, forgive your self, stop contributing to the problem through gossip or adding more hurtful words. I think boundaries are ok as long as they aren’t used to punish – this is a fine line I struggle with. Try not to let the guilt and pain swallow you.

  10. Very thoughtful post. In addition to the other wonderful suggestions, I like the one about “Creating a family of choice.” It reminds me of how we often call our friends, sisters or brothers from another mother. While we pray for God’s intervention in our family issues, we can have great times with another family that we care for. Do have a merry Christmas!

    • Thanks so much. I hope you have a fabulous Christmas, too. The holidays can be pretty rough, but friends can make the time great. Pray does change things. I know first hand.

  11. Pingback: How To Find Joy When Joy Is Hard To Find : The Advent Season •

  12. I think the holidays really bring this out in us. We finally decided to allow my sister’s boyfriend to come around. Hasn’t happened yet but the relationship with my sister has become a little better since the olive branch has been given out. Glad you’re back to good terms with your family.

    • Jenny, I hope your Christmas has turned out great. Good for you for extending an olive branch. I hope this will make a difference.

  13. This is an important post! There is so much information out there about the peace holiday seasons bring, but this is not the case for many who holidays are the most difficult time to endure. I remember stopping at a pharmacy last year on Christmas day. One lady asked the cashier, “Don’t you wish you were home celebrating today?” The cashier replied, “No, I was the first to state I was available to work today.” The way it was stated indicated she had her reasons for asking to work Christmas day.

    • Oh, how sad. It is hard on so many people this time of year. It is supposed to be wonderful, but it can get muddied when the family is a mess. I hope the lady in the pharmacy had a better holiday this year.

  14. Thanks for sharing these tips. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to be estranged from loved ones during the holidays.

    • Yeah, I am glad it is over. I hated all the family reminders. It just reminded me my family was not functioning. I am glad to be back.

  15. Having lived in a family with the SECRET of SA – me being the one that had to hold that secret…and when my memories returned…and I requested reconciliation, instead, I received ostracizations and such. My daughters have thanked me for protecting them from their grandfather. My sons grew up to meet him, but didn’t like him. Both my mom’s side and my dad’s side turned their backs on me.
    We have issues on the other side as well.
    That side caused problems with our adult children hearing lies, and being turned against me.
    This year, I’ve had four of the five of our children back in our lives. One left to go! And God is not going to let me down! Thank you for sharing! I’d like to share this link on my blog…at least in my Advent at the WildBerry Patch fb group…so many need this!

  16. Being estranged from family doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something not right in your life. Perhaps it’s them and that they’re assholes. No amount of praying can fix that.

    • I hear your point but there are a few things I would like to add:
      1.) No matter how bad or dysfunctional the situation, God is bigger. And he answers prayers. He may or may not bring reconciliation to the situation, but He can bring healing through forgiveness. Look at Elizabeth Smart. She is a walking miracle. My situation was not of that nature but it was definitely dysfunctional.
      2.) The feeling of “things not being right in my life” was because I harbored unforgiveness, hatred, and bitterness. That was my side of the coin. And it took years to work through it. I am free now because I have forgiven. I am not responsible for other’s behavior, only mine. Each has to examine his own heart.
      3.) I was really grieved because I had to set such tight boundaries with my parents at the time. It felt unnatural and it was extremely hard. The best way to describe it is that it felt like there was something that was outstanding that I could not get closure on–ever. Like a death with no burial. Or something precious lost and never to be found. It stayed in the back of my head all the time. And I felt shame for it not being right especially as a Christian no matter where the fault lay.

      I hope this helps explain my thoughts a little better.

  17. What do you recommend for parents and siblings of the adult child who has estranged? Shou,d we continue to reach out occasionally? We are heartbroken and still don’t quite understand why our beloved son and DIL have walked away. We. Are praying for God to heal our family.

    • Hi Kat,
      Each situation is so different. I can tell you what made the difference is that pride, anger, and unforgiveness had to be left at the door. Eventually, they were willing to say they were sorry for the part they played. And now they are adhering to the boundaries I have set in the relationship. I had to work on a few things on my end, too. It wasn’t one way.

      If you have not truly heard your kids and the problem, you will never be able to fix it or really know how to behave.

      FYI: Many times it is control that is being played out in some form or fashion. Ask yourself if you have given unsolicited advice, verbally disapproved of decisions they have made, manipulated situations, used money to control, interfered in their marriage or raising of the children. Do you punish or retaliate in some way? Addictions can also play a huge role in estrangement. You can only work on you. That is where the change starts. Not with them. You.

      In the same manner, I could only work on me. I had to realize I can change no one else, but me.

      If there is no contact, I would adhere to the boundaries without fail. And start praying and fasting. That is what broke the situation in my family.

      Work on yourself in the meantime. Pray Psalms 19:12-14 which asks God to reveal hidden faults you can’t see.

      • My husband and I are estranged from his family. It is a very dysfunctional family with emotional abuse and family a business rampant with pride, greed, envy, lies and a means to have control over us financially.We had enough and stood up for ourselves, left the company and shined a light on the illegal things going on in the biz. With the help of a Christian therapist, we created a healthy boundary and explained to his parents that unless we can have an adult conversation without blame, judgement, condemning, etc and discuss the role EVERYONE had in getting to our current situation, we need to remove ourselves and children from the family. They refused. Said only we are to blame, there is nothing to talk about and they pray “our heads get right” and are upset because of “what “our”(their high society friends) must think. They are now actively trying to financially harm us and our family due to what I presume is just anger and so we have no choice but to grovel back to them and give into their ways, albeit sinful and against our morals.

        Oddly enough, my husband has never been happier even through all this. We began daily bible reading and actively serving in our church. Through prayer, we have both forgiven them and his siblings (Also in business) for what they’ve done. We pray they get convicted by the Holy Spirit and their eyes are opened.

        I am so conflicted and I don’t know why. I feel family is SO important but
        1) we’ve put our pride aside and taken a good hard look at ourselves and our role. Offered apology, it was refused.
        2) Husband is so much happier, like a weight is lifted and he has freedom! Realized his worth is from his Heavenly Father and NO ONE else and no amount of $$.

        We are stronger in our marriage and faith than ever before. We’re dealing with people intent on harming us and seeking a sort of vengeance for standing up for what’s right, albeit hard.

        Again, Family is so important, but maybe sometimes estrangement can be a good thing, and I pray that because of this they too are led to Jesus

        • Elle, I was estranged for 7 years. And it was a good thing for me at the time. I am glad God brought us back together as hearts have been changed on both sides. I am so sorry you are experiencing this terrible thing. I will be praying for you and your family. It is truly heartbreaking. Keep praying and I suggest fasting. That is what broke things with my family.

  18. K.A. Wypych Reply

    This was wonderful! And, I’m happy to hear you were able to work things out with your family. The list is also a great list for singles or those who live away from their families. It’s good to start building traditions where you currently are!

  19. It is awesome that you have been able to reconcile with your family and I hope many others are able to do this. Families all have problems but figuring out how to get past them can be important to everyone’s mental health.

  20. This is such a hard time of year for families that have broken apart. I’m glad to read that you got through it. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experiences so others can get through too. <3

    • Yes, the holidays are a hard time of year for many people. There is nothing anyone can really do to fix things unless people start talking. Everyone has to swallow his pride and listen.

  21. I’m so happy for you that you were able to reconcile with your family and thank you for sharing your experience. I agree if all else fail, just pray and everything will be alright in the end. 🙂

    • Prayer works! It is the only thing that really moves things. Family estrangement is hard to change without God.

  22. This hits closest to my heart. This is the first Christmas that I don’t want to spend with my parents. I am now 43 years old. I just realized that my family is not normal and I am a victim of emotional abuse. I just woke up to it and realized it and I don’t want that anymore. I want to change the mechanics with my own kids and become a better mother. But I need healing and seeing my folks for the holidays will just not help me.

    • Sigrid, I just saw this. I am so sorry you are going through this. I pray you will make the time to work on your own heart as this is the only thing you can change. I was really angry and needed to unravel what happened to me. I don’t know where you are in the situation now, but when there is abuse, it is not so simple. I am praying for you to know how to proceed so you can get true healing.

  23. I am going back to my parent’s home for the holidays and hope it will be a great time. We don’t see eye-to-eye sometimes.

  24. It is a very hard thing to be estranged from your family, I too have had this. However, in the end all you have is family. So happy you reconciled and found ways to deal with the pain through bettering yourself.

  25. I’m glad you sought God in prayer to help fix it. It’s amazing how wonderfully he can put things in order for us when we ask. 🙂

    • Prayer is the best way to break through all of the pain and pride. I don’t know how one can get through a family break or family rift without God.

  26. As I grow older I feel blessed and appreciate more than my family has always been together. But I have a lot of friends that will find your post so useful. Thanks for the great ideas and reflexions.

    • I am so glad that you have not had any difficulty with your family. What a great blessing. Thanks for your comment.

  27. I love your views on things! It’s also a great way to pray for everything! God will do the work and help us get through things! Thank you for sharing this!

    • I think prayer is the only thing that really works. I am glad there is a God who loves us and hears our cries.

  28. It’s hard when families don’t get on and don’t see each other. But I suppose we can only hope and try to work things out.

    • Yes, it is important to work things through before a family rift goes into an all-out estrangement. Most of the time, it means swallowing pride and admitting wrongs. That is not easy for most people.

    • Thanks for saying this. And yes, you hit it right on. It is work. A lot of work. It requires a huge amount of introspection and changing in ways that are not comfortable or easy. But the alternative is to just stay estranged which is not easy either.

  29. While I’ve never been formally estranged from family, I have been forced to spend holidays with those that I’ve had considerable bad feelings towards. It puts such a pall over the events.

    • I am so sorry. It is a miserable experience attending family gatherings that are uncomfortable and maybe even abusive. Sometimes people say and do such thoughtless things without even realizing it. I hope you will find joy in the season despite the family irritations.

  30. The holidays are notorious for being a period of time that individuals are more likely to be depressed without family or anxious around them. I think there was a deep reason why you wrote estranged and needed that time to heal and to miss them. It is awesome that you all have reconciled!

    • Yes, I needed to be away for a long time before I realized I missed them. The first couple of years were nice, but eventually, it became embarrassing and heartbreaking. I am glad there was a path back after so many bridges had been burned.

  31. Monidipa Dutta Reply

    Estrangement from a parent or an adult child is painful every day of the year but it can be especially difficult during the holidays. With visions of family togetherness all around you, all you can see are the empty chair, the memories of when times were so different.

    • Yes, it is painful. Estrangement during the holidays is in some ways peaceful because there is no fighting, but then it is awful because there is a huge hole in the family. And nothing can fill it but reconciliation.

  32. This post is really awesome and thoughtful. I loved your thoughts and the way you have presented it.

  33. Thank you for sharing this. For some, being with family during the holidays is not always possible. It can prove to be difficult to spend the holidays without family.

    • Yes, family breaks are really hard. I know there are many families that will be experiencing it this holiday. I hope I can offer some ways to cope with it. I wish there were a magic pill or a few words that would make it all better. Unfortunately, it is so complicated. Each situation is different and messy.

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