Missing a Loved One at Christmas: How to cope when the one you love isn’t there during the holiday season.

Brittney Means, Opinion Editor

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The holiday season is a very special time for people.   It is a time of thanks, a time of reflection and most importantly, it is great times spent with family.  However, for some, Christmas can be a sad time.  Spending time with loved ones is what everyone does during this time of the year, but if a loved one is away it can be very hard to have a good time and be in the Christmas spirit.

One of the hardest things a family may have to deal with is the first Christmas after the death of a loved one.  What is normally a time of celebration and time spent with them; is now a heavy reminder that they are gone.  Seeing Christmas lights on houses, hearing Christmas music or smelling Christmas cookies can all trigger thoughts of that missing person.

However, instead of letting those things be a reminder that they are gone, one should let it be a happy memory.  For example, smelling the Christmas cookies baking can make a person remember a time when they made cookies with the person they are missing.  Instead of letting this become a thought that it will never happen again, one should think of the memory and be grateful that it happened.

There are some other things a person can do to ease some of the pain and make it easier to deal with their loved one being gone.  avowhospice.org has a list of ideas people can do to help them during the holiday season.  The website suggests acknowledging how one feels, expressing emotions, talking with others, helping others and remembering the loved one that is no longer there.  Dealing with a loved one being gone will be hard no matter what but if everyone in the family is there for each other that can really help.

Not everyone can relate to a loved one being gone during the holiday season because they are dead.  Many more can relate to a loved one being gone for other reasons.  Whether one has a loved one away on business, a soldier overseas, a divorced family that is split up or whatever the case may be; it is still hard to enjoy Christmas when the one you want to be with you isn’t there.

Luckily with today’s technology, there are things to help loved ones connect with each other during the festive season.  There are cell phones so families can talk to one another, or there is email and one of the best ways of connecting with each other is through skype.  With skype, loved ones can talk to each other and see each other while they are talking.

If the loved ones want to talk to each other but they are in different time zones or something, they can set up times to talk to each other via telephone or skype.

If a family is split up because of divorce for example, children of the family could spend Christmas Eve with one parent and then Christmas day with the other.

One of the biggest reasons families are split up during the holidays is because of military purposes.  A lot of times, families have loved ones overseas.  Nathan Gnewuch, a Marine from Norfolk, NE is currently in Afghanistan and will be spending his Christmas there as well.

For Gnewuch and all the other Marines over there Christmas won’t be much different than every other day.  He said they will probably wake up, wish each other a Merry Christmas and go on about their daily routine.  He added that they may have a little bit better food than normal and they may get to make a phone call or two back home.

When asked how they deal with being away and missing their families, Gnewuch said, “About every single day we talk to each other about stuff from home or memorable events that have happened in the past. That’s how we get through each and every day. We’re here for one another. To be honest with you, I’m never away from my family, because these guys that I’m around every day, day after day, they are a part of my family. We use each other to get through the rough and tough times.”

The best thing to do during Christmas time when one is missing the person they love, whatever the reason may be, is to be there for the other loved ones who are there.  It won’t be easy, but neither is Christmas in Afghanistan.

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