On Christmas Eve morning, my mom woke me up to tell me that my step-grandma in Florida had passed away in her sleep. This news came after a heart-wrenching few days after she suffered a brain aneurysm. You can never really prepare yourself for this type of news, and no one ever talks about how much it hurts - especially when this time of the year is supposed to happy and healthy and warm.

Losing a loved one is hard enough: you experience grief and sadness and disbelief that you're forced to process all at once. When it's during a holiday or an important life event, you can't help but think that this is the only thing that will be on your mind every time this time of year comes around.

Going through the routine holiday events this year was plagued with sadness in the back of my mind. Of course, I was grateful for the gifts from my family and the fun times we had at family Christmas parties, but there was always the feeling of heartache to go along with it. I couldn't help but feel sadness for my grandpa alone in Florida who had just lost his love, and I couldn't help but miss Grandma Pat.

Somehow, things like this have happened before to my family. I lost my Nana Peg around the same time a few years ago, and this feeling hasn't gotten easier. If you've ever experienced this, then you know what I'm talking about.

The only real advice I can offer for this shitty situation, is advice I've gotten from my Aunt Jeanette. The best way to get through it and honor their memory is to remember all the good things about them. For me, it's Grandma Pat's incredible laugh and selfless spirit, and for Nana Peg, it's her wisdom and the way we used to watch 'Jerseylicious' every Sunday. You have to think about the good things and happy memories to take away from the sadness.