Christmas is here and families are gathering together across the mountains. Some of you may be thinking about the people that are not with us, those we've lost this year or in years past that we still hold close to our heart. Grief over a loved one lost can make it almost impossible to celebrate, especially for one family who's loved one was found murdered two years ago Sunday.
"It's a hard time of the year for us. Dad loved Christmas. It was his favorite time of the year," said Deanna Fuston.
Deanna Fuston's dad, Bill Mills, was found shot to death outside a Knox County elementary school Christmas Eve morning 2004. Police still haven't found who did it. For Deanna and her sisters, Christmas is no longer a happy holiday, but they do want to preserve the holiday for their children.
"We put up the tree and I try to make it a happy time, but you can still see the pain in their eyes," Deanna said.
Denise Shumate with Shumate Funeral Home in Middlesboro has talked with many grieving families. She says no matter what time of year you lose a loved one or how long ago, feelings of loss tend to surface again during the holidays. She says to deal with it, you first must face it.
"Acknowledge the fact you do have grief. Don't to try to pretend and hide the fact you are hurting," Shumate said.
Once you do that, Shumate suggests talking with others about what you're feeling.
"Think about the times you had with them, things they enjoyed about the holidays and go ahead and shed that tear if necessary," Shumate said.
"Turn to God and your family because that's the only way to get through it," Deanna said.
Deanna is hoping new Christmas memories with her kids will help ease some of the pain that this holiday brings back every year.
Everyone here at WYMT would like to extend our thoughts and prayers to anyone who's remembering a loved one they've lost.