SOAPBOX: Remember loved ones no longer with us
IT'S not all joyous carol-singing and merriment in homes across the Sunshine Coast this week.
The festive season is often a sad time for those whose close friends and loved ones have died during the year and who will be dreading spending this first Christmas Day without them.
It's the same for those who have buried their nearest and dearest in December in years past and for whom Christmas always reminds them of loss and sadness.
Or maybe many years have passed and we still can't seem to truly enjoy yuletide gatherings if those loved ones are no longer here.
We put on brave faces, but thoughts of these departed husbands, wives, partners, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, mates, colleagues, neighbours or grandparents never seem to be far from our minds.
But that is a good thing.
We wouldn't be human if we could block out our memories of them and continue on with our lives as if nothing happened.
Christmas should be that season where we embrace the time we have had with them and celebrate their life and their achievements. They would want us to live our lives to the fullest and make every moment of every day count.
Along with a toast to "peace on Earth and goodwill to all men (and women)” tomorrow, raise another glass to absent friends and family, give a silent prayer or make up a beautiful place setting at the dining table with a vacant seat and share stories of good times spent with them.
And if you do find yourself struggling, a friendly voice has good advice on the end of a phone line 24 hours a day at Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.