You're a really nice guy, Dave...and having you as a member of our Community is something we all should be thankful for.
This Holiday season is the toughest time of the year for those who mourn...you and I know that. The folks here have provided me a wonderful alternative to feeling sad. It can't (nor should it) replace our missing loved ones or eliminate our sorrow completely. But it, and the wonderful and weird denizens of this virtual zoo go a long way to ameliorate sorrow...
As Ed and Mark suggested I do, I'll pass it on to you...when you feel that overwhelming, crushing and searing pain...try to think of the wonderful times and if you do this assiduously, there will be slow but definite improvement.
Give yourself time. Make allowances and if you feel something...don't deny it...let it flow through you and leave.
Helen sounds like a person I would really loved to have known, and you're so lucky to have had those years, as I was to have known Carmela and had what time I had with her. Honestly, they will always be with us, and we will always speak with them. I believe that in their way they still hear us and speak back. Listen to her. She loves you still.
As I said, Dave ... as you were lucky with your time with her, we are lucky for our time with you....so, "Thank you Dave for being our friend."