The holidays are the most wonderful time of year and also the hardest time of year for people who have lost a parent or loved one, like me, and anyone who has had a rough year – which is basically everyone.

My bracelet says “You are not alone” and was given to me by my late mom when her cancer came back. I wear it a lot especially when I feel sad without her around the holidays, and especially this year.

For anyone who also feels sad at the holidays, I wanted to say that you’re NOT alone – the holiday season looks different this year for all of us – remember it’s temporary and take the time to tell those you love how grateful you are for them. Do something kind for your family, friends and community.

Last year my awesome sister-in-law suggested that we open a bottle of champagne while my brother and I recounted a favorite memory of our mom and toast her instead of being sad.

I thought it was a great new tradition and one that I wanted to share with others who may also benefit from doing something like this. We are going to do it again this year to honor my mom.

Your life can change in an instant. Tragedies and illnesses happen. Make sure to spend as much time as possible with and be good to the people you love.

I don’t think it ever gets easier to deal with the death of a loved one – especially around the holidays. You never know what someone is dealing with – especially this year – so be extra kind to one another.

I’m sending a virtual hug to everyone who is not feeling themselves right now. Remember it’s okay to not be okay sometimes. We are all in this together.

Be safe and well.