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Darlene Butcher loves the holidays, and she and her home alike are decked out in their holiday best.
But Christmas is not like it use to be for this Onawa woman.
It has been 16 years since she lost her son, Ronnie, and it is her third holiday season without her husband, "Butch."
"Oh my husband loved the holidays, he loved Christmas, so we put up a lot of decorations when he was well, and I remember how much fun we had with that," remembered Butcher. "And of course my son, Christmas is all about my kids. So we always think about him a lot."
Thoughts of good memories help her get through the tough days and so does her big family, a real blessing, this time of year, especially.
"Really, it's hard to go through it alone. There's a lot of people who don't have families, and I'm blessed by the good lord to have a big family, friends and that's wonderful," said Butcher.
Each Christmas, Darlene lights a candle for Ronnie and Butch.
And, she keeps on decking the halls, just the way her husband would have wanted, making sure the spirit of Christmas and her loved ones live on.
"I still want to keep decorating and keep the holidays alive because it's great to do that."
There will be a "Blue Christmas" Program, a service that will address the needs of grieving folks during the holiday season.
The program will be Sunday, December 9th at 4 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Onawa.