FORT HOOD, Texas — Because the holidays are traditionally a time for family gatherings, that can be extremely difficult for military families with a loved one deployed.
A Fort Hood family shared their story and the ways in which they've learned to cope.
Emily Moser's dad, Bob, is an active duty soldier. He has served in the U.S. Army for 17 years and recently deployed to Germany.
"It still makes me sad now," Emily said. "But when I was younger, it made me even more sad because you know my dad was gone."
The separation has added more pressure to the already stressed family.
Emily's mom, Julie, is battling breast cancer for the second time, and Julie's mom is in hospice fighting a battle of her own.
"But then you add in the mix of deployment, the holidays," Julie said. "While we feel resilient, sometimes we have to acknowledge that it's OK not to be OK. And that we do have to kind of muddle through some of the things together, as a family, with our friends, with any support that is out there for the military families."
Air Force veteran and military spouse Kametra Marzette is the outreach director for The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Endeavors, Killeen. Marzette understands how tough deployments can be.
"[It] can be especially difficult to have a loved one gone for so long, especially when they're part of the family dynamic," Marzette said. "Especially when there's kids in the home."
However, there are ways to cope.
"Some good things you can do: watch TV, take a walk," Marzette said. "If you're doing something that's stressful, try to get out of that situation for that moment."
The Cohen Veterans Network has tools for managing stress and worry.
If you know someone whose loved one won't be home for the holidays, Julie's best advice is to check on them.
"Just pop in and say 'Hi,' or cut their grass, or even drop off some food because even a small gesture means so much," Julie said.
Emily and Julie support each other and share pride for their soldier.
"It's really meaningful to us because we're proud of our soldier, you know, for going and doing things for our country. And so, while it is sad, I tend to look at it more of I'm proud," Julie said.