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Central Texas family afflicted with heartache this holiday season after losing daughter to COVID-19

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 6:22 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) -With Thanksgiving this week and Christmas just a month after that, it’s a time of holiday cheer and celebration for many across Central Texas.

For others, however, this can be an extremely challenging time, especially, those who are not able to spend the holidays with loved ones they have lost.

In the wake of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, more families are experiencing grief and trying to find a way to get through.

In Central Texas, the Radde Family is trying to overcome the death of a beloved member.

“Ashley was our only child and the oldest granddaughter on both sides,” said Angela Radde, mother of Ashley Radde, “She was very bubbly and very friendly.”

At just 27 years old, Ashley Radde came down with COVID-19 in August, was hospitalized, and passed away shortly thereafter.

Her family is now missing a pivotal person this holiday season.

“We are a very close family celebrating birthdays, Halloween, Christmas, all the holidays so that’s why this year is going to be so hard, not just for us but the whole family,” Angela said.

Her family is trying to get through the holidays this year but says they aren’t quite sure how.

“When I see Christmas decorations or hear Christmas music, it makes me sick to my stomach,” Angela said.

“I am not looking forward to the holidays because I know there will be this empty space.”

They say they are able to find some comfort through friends, family, agencies like “While We’re Waiting,” Facebook pages, as well as a community that has shown so much support since Ashley’s passing.

“There’s so many friends that have reached out to us,” said Radde.

“I could talk to you for an hour about the ways she’s been memorialized, honored, and tributes paid to her.”

The Radde Family is far from alone. Experts say it important is to know that it’s okay to feel hurt and to find support. Also, it’s often a good idea to still make loved ones a part of the holidays in a different way.

“That could be writing the person I have lost, writing them a letter, or talking with another friend about the memories of the person I’m grieving,” said Christina Gibson, a counselor for Texans Recovering Together crisis counseling program at the Heart of Texas Region MHMR.

The holidays can be filled with an expectation of joy, but Gibson says grieving is different for every person.

Gibson also says this time of year, there is heightened depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

If you know someone who is having a hard time, be there for them. You can even call a helpline together.

Crisis Services are available 24 hours a day on the Crisis Hotline: 1-866-752-3451

Learn more about services offered in Central Texas on MHMR’s Website.

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