Always cherish loved ones during the holiday season

Liz Stephens, Columnist

The holiday season has finally set in, and so have the bittersweet feelings that come along with them.

Thanksgiving and Christmas this year will be bittersweet and emotional for me, and I am sure they will be for many other people for similar reasons.

Next week, my childhood best friend Colton comes home to Charleston from where he has been stationed in the Army.

I feel blessed to be able to spend Thanksgiving break with him, and am sure I will savor every memory-making opportunity. The kicker is that I do not even get a month with him until he is deployed overseas to Iraq for over a year.

Many other families are placed in similar situations due to having close relatives or family friends coming home from the military for a limited amount of time.

People in the same situation as me are able to understand the feeling when their hearts sink. They realize the time with their loved one is running out and they will soon be communicating by letters.

I am excited for Thanksgiving, but I am also dreading it at the same time.

I feel the same way about Christmas.

After Christmas break last semester I came back as a scrooge. When asked, “How was your break?” by professors I could not help but respond with “absolutely horrible.”

One of my close friends from high school named Allison died on Christmas morning last year.

Right as I was opening my Christmas presents, I read the text saying she had died. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach and was unable to breathe.

Everyone who was friends with her when she was alive, has been chattering on social media about how it is close to Christmas; and how it will be a rough holiday season since it will be the anniversary of her death.

The upcoming holiday season can be tender for families who have recently lost their loved ones, and are still in the mourning process.

This Thanksgiving and Christmas people should leave behind family disputes, forgive each other and be grateful for those they have in their lives.

As I have learned by having a close friend passed away at 18, you should not take anybody for granted even if you are in a tiff, because the time you have with them is not guaranteed.

Some friends and families let the silliest disagreements ruin their relationship, and are somehow okay with it. Even ruining the holidays where families are finally able to all get together.

Even as a student, it is easy to get so busy with keeping up with academics that we put some friends that are not on campus with us on the back burner as well as our family.

We assume they will always be there waiting to greet us with open arms when we are “available” or have enough time for them, and we should not do that.

I will be trying my best to make sure to hold my friends and family tight this holiday season, and hopefully going into the spring semester with a positive reaction this time around when my professors asks me “How was your break?”

Liz Stephens is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].