Coping During The Holidays


Jessica Price, Writer

The holidays are supposed to be a fun and exciting time for all families, but some people don’t always get to have that. There are currently 1.4 million people serving in the armed forces today, and not every personnel gets to come home and spend time with their loved ones. It can be hard not only for the ones at home, but also for the ones who are off fighting for their families freedom and lives. Soldiers are built strong and tough, but even they get their feelings hurt when it comes to being back home with their reason for living, for doing what they’re doing.

I went and asked one of our own here at Greenbrier West High School, Lieutenant Colonel Busick for his statement on, “How was it like for you to not be able to go home on Christmas?”

He replied to me,” I was in the war of Panama on Christmas day in 1989, I didn’t even realize it was Christmas that day until 11:45 p.m. that night. There were fifteen minutes left of Christmas. What caused me to remember was that I saw one of the soldiers sleeping, and beside him was a little Christmas tree he had decorated, and then it came to me that it was Christmas on that day.”

I later asked him, “How did it feel?”

He stated, “I felt it was kind of cool because I had wanted to go to war and I finally did, and within the twenty-seven and a half years I was in the army I was only in combat for a total of 42 days that whole time.”

Ways to cope with being away from your loved ones while in the armed forces include:

  • Write your child a brief letter about all the different ways they’re loved and appreciated, consider several letters to be read on different days.
  • Create a holiday ornament with your child’s name on it.
    Record a reading of a favorite holiday book or story and send it to your child, which can be part of a holiday or year-round bedtime routine.
  • Stay in touch through email, Skype or social media as often as possible to communicate and participate in some of the holiday activities in real time, remotely.

Ways to cope with a loved one being away in the armed forces:

  • Engage in activities to help recharge your batteries and reduce stress such as exercising, going to the movies, shopping with family or friends, or getting a massage.
  • Consider doing something fun as a family for your service member, like assembling a care package containing their favorite goodies and pictures or mementos from home.
    Get involved in volunteer opportunities in your community as this can be emotionally and spiritually rewarding.