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In October, I attended the 19th Annual Balloon Release hosted by Compassionate Friends of Victoria in the Rose Garden at Riverside Park.

Area residents gathered to honor their lost loved ones in an intimate ceremony that included prayer, music and poetry.

I learned from Linda Goss, who lost her son Jonathan Wayne Goss in 1999, that the organization offers a safe environment where parents and grandparents can talk openly with others who understand that grieving the loss of child never ends.

I came across a folder Linda gave me with a photo of her handsome son leaning against his Toyota Forerunner, and it reminded me that the holidays can be bittersweet for families who cannot be together.

On the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, it’s a reminder to be thankful for my family and to remember those who cannot be with theirs.