The holidays are commonly known as "the most wonderful time of the year." It is a time when joy fills the air, delicious foods are constantly cooking, and family is reunited. However, for those whose family's are permanently incomplete, the holiday season can sting with the memories of relatives passed on. Whether the loss was experienced two years ago, or two months ago, the absence can be felt the same. A time that is filled with so much happiness for many, is often the most difficult for families with missing pieces in Heaven.

1. It Always Feels Like Something is Missing

You can't quite put your finger on it, but something about the holiday season is just not right without your lost loved one. In every family event, a huge component is missing. While everyone else is having fun, you cant help but think about how your loved one should be there as well, laughing and enjoying every moment with you. Without them there, it is impossible to enjoy the holiday activities to the fullest.

2. Many Traditions Disappear

Whether it be the annual trip to cut down the Christmas tree, that recipe you liked to cook together, or the unwrapping of presents on Christmas morning, traditions you once had begin to change, or disappear altogether. The trip to get the tree does not feel the same, you begin to forget ingredients to your favorite dish, and the gift exchange loses it's excitement. This is particularly hard, because you realize that you being to lose grip on those traditions, just as you lost the person.

3. Seeing Gifts the Person Would Have Liked

The mall is one of the top destinations of the holiday season, with people scurrying in and out to find the right gifts for their friends and family. While looking through the stores, you cant help but think "Oh, Dad would have loved that" when you see the perfect sweater, or "I remember the year grandma asked for that" when you see that tacky blender that she never wound up using. There is a twinge of nostalgia every time the ideal gift is spotted, knowing that you will never get to give it to them.

4. Having to Pretend the Loss No Longer Affects You

Since the holidays are a time of joy and love, it is more often than not that the feelings of sadness over a lost loved one remain hidden. You do not want to be seen as the "downer" or as the "buzz-kill". While it appears that everyone around you is the happiest they have ever been, your heart is hurting without your loved one by your side.

5. The Memories Themselves

What hurts the most during the holidays are the memories that were made together. You are left constantly thinking about that year they burnt the ham, the time they accidentally cracked your favorite ornament, or what you got each other on what would end up being the last Christmas that you shared. The thought of how great the holidays used to be, and the fact that they will never be that way again, is what hurts the most. However, you must remember that you were lucky to have that time together, as little as it may seem. Although your loved one is now in Heaven, they are still with you in spirit, celebrating right beside you. The memories can be painful and make the holiday season the hardest time of the year, but their existence and the love they brought to your life is what will get you through.