Sandra Bullock admits that the holiday season will be more difficult this year. Three months after the death of her partner, photographer Bryan Randall, from ALS in August, her biggest concern is being there for her children, Louis, 13, and Laila, 11, who looked on him as a father figure. “It’s been very difficult for them, but Sandra’s been there every moment,” a friend tells Closer exclusively.

The Oscar-winning actress, who took a break from moviemaking to be close to Bryan in his last year, remains “devastated” but tries to heed the advice “the love of her life” once gave her. “Bryan was always saying, when one door closes, another one opens,” says the friend.

Still, it’s been very difficult to look forward instead of back. “Bryan did suffer, but Sandra would never say it was a blessing that he passed. She’d do anything to have him back,” says the friend, who adds that Bryan tried to make it easier on his family — including his adult daughter from an earlier relationship — by saying goodbye. “He made sure to have closure with his loved ones before he left, but it’s hard for Sandra to think of that as a bright side.

As the holidays approach, Sandra has vowed to bring some joy to her inner circle, which now includes Bryan’s daughter. “Sandra and Skylar bonded pretty quickly after she and Bryan got together. They’re still close,” says the friend. Other relatives, including Sandra’s sister, Gesine, and her family, have stepped in to keep everyone’s spirits up during the holidays.

Friends from showbiz have offered her roles, but getting back to work isn’t Sandra’s priority. “I take my job very seriously when I’m at work,” she said in 2022, explaining why she was taking time off. “It’s 24/7 and I just want to be 24/7 with my babies and my family.” But eventually Sandra expects to get back to moviemaking. “She’s got some projects in the works,” says the friend, “but she’s in no rush.”