By Laura Haefeli

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Kris Houser lost his wife to coronavirus more than a month ago. Now, he and his 11-year-old son faced the stark reality of going through the holiday season without her.

Kris and his wife Brandy spent 21 Christmases together.

“She would pull everything out and decorate,” Kris said. “It was my job at the end of the season to pull it all down.”

Brandy died of COVID-19 in November.

“I said ‘I love you’ to her and she said ‘I love you’ back to me and that was our last conversation,” he said.

Kris and the couple’s 11-year-old son Jude were left to navigate a new normal during the holidays.

“It’s hard not to have that person here to share those things with that you had for so long,” Kris said.

Brandy usually did the Christmas shopping for Jude, but this year was different.

“It’s been a challenge for me because I didn’t have to do it by myself for so long,” Kris said. “We did gingerbread making, hot cocoa and just hung out. It was nice.”

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Last we spoke to Kris, it was right before the holidays. Brandy had just passed away, and he had a message: “One holiday missed is better than having a holiday without a loved one.”

On Christmas Day, his feelings haven’t changed one bit.

“It’s hard not having her to actually tell me herself she loves me or have her here in person,” he said.

Kris said if Brandy was here for Christmas, there’s one thing he’d make sure to tell her: “You’re beautiful and I love you.”