For all the talk of peace and love this time of year, we sometimes overlook the feelings of depression some people struggle with.
Holidays and family celebrations seem to go together. For many people, Christmas is the ultimate time for family and loved ones. A lot of traditions and memories are associated with this time of year.
The truth is, when someone you love has died, you miss him or her on New Year's Day and New Year's Eve and every day in between. You don't really need a holiday to remind you of them.
But you might struggle even more through a birthday or the anniversary of a loved one's death or Christmas.
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Oh, especially Christmas.
The days are short. The night is long. The weather is cold and the skies are gray. There is just something oppressing about the Mid-Columbia's gloomy days.
These elements can compound your grief. The loneliness can be unbearable.
Just in the last year, even the last few months, our community has seen the accidental and premature deaths of several young people.
It's been hard to take.
It's been crushing to their families and classmates.
And this sadness extends beyond the heartbreaking stories that have made headlines. It crosses all age groups.
That's why this is an especially good time of year for us to take extra care of ourselves and each other.
Grief is normal. Seasonal depression is to be expected.
If you feel sad, that's OK.
If you feel despondent, get some help.
Talk to a friend or your clergy or a counselor. If things are really bad, call the Benton Franklin Crisis Response Unit at 783-0500, whether it's for yourself or someone else.
There are also numerous suicide prevention hotlines or chat services online if you aren't ready to talk to someone face-to-face.
If you're not struggling with grief this time of year, someone you know is. Take a look at those around you.
Watch for signs that someone is close to the edge.
Pay attention when someone talks about wanting to die or feeling hopeless.
Notice when someone sleeps too much or too little or acts withdrawn.
If you're worried about someone, get help for them.
Be aware that the most wonderful time of year for some of us can be the most difficult for others.
And like the Tri-City weather, the sun is just on the other side of those clouds. Soon it will be sunny and warm.
It's hard to remember the 100-degree days in the middle of winter, but they will be back.