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Brian Simpson's family still hoping for a Christmas blessing

STORY BY MEG LAUGHLIN (Week of Decber 19, 2013)

Kristen Simpson and her teenagers, Samantha and Scott, are getting ready for Christmas: poinsettias frame the front door of their Central Beach home, and the family’s Christmas keepsakes have been brought out of storage.

When Kristen and Brian Simpson were married 19 years ago at the end of November, friends and family gave them gifts with Christmas themes: the goofy pitcher shaped like a fat reindeer, the German Kris Kringle in traditional 18th century regalia, the delicate Lennox Christmas plate.

So Christmas for the Simpsons is filled with memories of happy years  – before Brian Simpson came home from work unexpectedly and startled a home invader, who shot and killed him in their Fiddlewood home in mid-November, 2011.   

Months later, Kristen and the kids were dealing with not only the unbearable loss of husband and father Brian, but were also faced with the loss of their home because Kristen couldn’t afford the Chase Bank mortgage. 

But after stories about their situation appeared three months ago in Vero Beach 32963, generous donors contributed – in an amazing three weeks – more than $220,000, which was the amount Chase Bank administrators said they needed to deed the home to Kristen.

With that amount available, Chase in Atlanta began the paperwork.

At one point, it seemed likely the paperwork would arrive – and this phase of Kristen’s ordeal would be over – by Thanksgiving.  But days turned into weeks, and now the family remains hopeful that the deal will be closed before Christmas.

“There is not a second that I am not grateful for all of the help and support that we have been given in all shapes and sizes. All of the abundance of caring toward my family and me has truly saved my life and given me the strength to keep going,” said Kristen.

But she also said that this time of year is particularly tough without Brian: “The holidays make me more aware of how much I am missing the life that was so quickly taken from the kids and me,” she said, rubbing the clunky reindeer pitcher against her cheek.

“This goofy thing was Brian’s favorite,” she said. “I like knowing that, but it’s so painful.”

When the deed is signed and the house is hers, she is hoping the completion will mark a turning point for her. While she knows nothing will change how much she misses Brian, she says she looks forward to “a new normal” in the coming year.

“Meanwhile,” she said. “I’m working hard at trying to stay positive and I thank everyone.”