When you loose someone close to you there are certain times of the year that you notice that loss more than others. Usually the holidays are an especially rough time of the year for people who have lost a close friend or family member, and I am no exception.

December,10th 2008 I lost my first ever childhood friend in a car accident where he was killed on impact; his name is Jeff and he died at the age of 17. Now let me tell you a little bit about Jeff. He was the smartest, but laziest people I knew. School came so easily to him; it's like he took a smart pill or something. I swear this kid new everything or tried to know everything. He had a knack for sports and was very talented in baseball and just overall a wonderful person. I remember Jeff and his brother would come over to the house and we would play tag and a made up game called ninjas; we would even try to find salamanders in our basement windows. I remember one new years eve Jeff and his brother came over and my brother and I plus the two boys had a sleep over and I got the futon to myself. Jeff and I had a bunch of fun times together. We may have grown apart a little bit in High School, but he will forever be my first friend and I miss him dearly.

This will be the second holiday season without my older brother being alive and that is extremely difficult. It just constantly feels like someone is missing, that I am forgetting someone to shop for, or when I want a family member's advice or opinion (other than my parents). And, it's very hard to realize I don't have that anymore. I don't have my older brother here for the holidays. He will never come home knocking on the door with a huge grin on his face to see my mom and I. Some days I don't remember the sound of his voice and other days it seems like I just saw him yesterday. So yes, the holidays are extremely hard for myself and everyone who has experienced something traumatic.

So, how can we make the holidays fun and exciting again? It's definately different for everyone, but I like to make a list of everything I am happy about. I do this to remind myself how fortunate and lucky I am to be me. To live the life of a working 25 year old woman that has loving parents, supportive boyfriend, and the best friends you could ask for. I also decorate for the holidays. I feel that if you look at things that are bright and happy, you have no choice but to be happy. Also, the most important one is to allow yourself to be sad when you need to be. Don't hide your grief; if you're sad be sad. Allow yourself that time to mourn the loss of not having that person around. Yes, the holidays are about cheer and spreading joy but, if you need to recharge and take a moment and find that happiness then allow yourself to do so.

Allow yourself to grieve if you need to this holiday season. It will help the transition to being happy and excited a little smoother. I will end this article with a quote that my best friend told me: "Remember, it's OK to not be OK."