The holidays can be the most wonderful time of year and also the hardest time of year for people like me who have lost a parent or loved one.

Grief is a long-winded process and it comes and goes. There are unfortunately no shortcuts to it.

After my mom’s death from cancer I went through what experts call the five stages of grief and bounced back and forth between them over again repeatedly (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance).

One of the worst parts of losing someone you love is the harsh reality that you can’t just call them up to tell them something funny, to kvetch or when you need their advice.

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 so be kind to one another.

My mom gave this bracelet to me before her cancer came back with a vengeance, and it helps remind me that she’s always with me in some way.

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.

While you eventually get used to not having your loved one around, because you simply have no other choice, you never get over the profound loss that they are just not there anymore.

Those of you who have experienced the death of someone close to you will understand what I mean by this.

So many successful people are trying to hold it together when inside they are struggling with loss and grief.

There are many others out there like me who feel the same profound loss – please know that you aren’t alone.

How do you cope with grief and honor a loved one who has passed away?