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One a day Live

'One minute he was there, the next he was vanished': Christmas short highlights touching tale of loss

Christmas is celebrated as a time to be merry, but for many, the holiday season can be a painful reminder of loved ones lost.

Each day in December, RTÉ has been releasing a new 60-second short film that documents Christmas in Ireland today, from a range of perspectives.

Today's video highlights South Dublin mother Gwen Browne's painful memories of her husband David.

On Christmas Eve six years ago, David suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

"I found him on our bedroom floor in intense pain. He was admitted to hospital. We were told he had a brain tumour. He was terminal. I mean the shock at the time was horrific," she said.

He died nine months later.

"One minute he was there, the next he was vanished from my life," she added.

Naturally, since David's passing, Christmas been difficult for Gwen and her three young children but she says she has learnt a lot about how to overcome grief and has now become a become a bereavement counsellor for Bethany Bereavement Support Group.

For the first time in many years, she is now actually looking forward to Christmas.

The Home for Christmas series features the stories of people young and old from all around the country.

The 24 films act as unique advent series showcasing stories from a range of faiths and backgrounds of Christmases past and present.

The films, released online at midday, can also be seen nightly on RTÉ One.

A selection of the interviews will form the core of a special documentary, The Secret of Christmas, to be aired on RTÉ One tomorrow at 22.35pm.

Roger Childs, Genre Head of RTÉ Religious Programmes, questioned while Christmas is "magical", have many of us lost trust with its true meaning?

"In a more diverse and secular Ireland, has that meaning changed? Apparently not for some, as, all across Ireland, there are people who believe there’s more to Christmas than turkey, tinsel and twelve pubs, who see it as a time to share with people less fortunate than themselves - the lonely, the homeless, the sick and the poor," he said.