Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

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Gratefulness During Painful Times

In the United States today we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, a tradition that dates back to when the pilgrims shared a meal with the native indians when the first settlers came to this country from Europe.

Later, President Abraham Lincoln would declare this day as an annual opportunity to thank God for the blessings He has bestowed on our people and our great land. And, yes, in the politically correct environment we live in, he specifically asked all Americans to thank ‘God’.

But for my readers, who are often those who are grieving a loss of some kind on this day, it can feel difficult to really find anything that we could be grateful for when we are in such pain. And this is a place where I have been in the past, too.

But I’d like you to know that just because you are hurting so deeply from the death of someone close, or the divorce, or the financial loss, or whatever you are dealing with, it is acceptable to still feel times of happiness.

Sometimes we won’t allow ourselves to delve into the happy bucket for fear of how others might judge us (“How can she look so happy when her father just died?”). Or when we ourselves feel guilty because we’re not grieving properly.

Well I’m here to tell you that there is no ‘right’ way to grieve. There is no ‘right’ timing when grief is finished. There is no ‘right’ way you can please all your family and friends and I don’t want you to try, because, quite frankly, if they are putting guilt on you, nothing you do will make them happy anyway. It’s time for them to get their own life and build their own happiness after someone’s death.

The only person’s grief you are responsible for is your own. You can help soothe another family member and listen to them, but ultimately it’s their journey and they will undoubtedly walk it in a different manner and timing than you, but that’s just fine. We aren’t all the same and we don’t all grieve the same as another family member.

So on this Thanksgiving, take some time to value what you do have in your life. Honor the great memories you shared with your loved one who is no longer here. Share those memories with those whom you will spend this day…aloud of course.

And even if you think it will be painful to even bring up their name at dinner, it probably will be and tears may be shed and, guess what, it’s absolutely ok. And, yes, even if it’s been a dozen years, holidays can be hard thinking how you’d really love for them to be sitting at the table next to you just one more time.

So shed the tears and raise a glass to their memory. Talk about them, share what makes your life great at this point in your life. Share how they shaped your life for the better.

And mostly realize just how far you have come in your journey. You are still moving forward, you are still moving toward your dreams, and you can still find things to be grateful for.

I wish you a memorable day. They are with you in spirit and nothing and no one can ever take that away.

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Giving Thanks for All We Do Have

On this Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I want to wish all my friends a wonderful day giving thanks for all we do have.

Often times, when we have experienced the death of someone we loved so deeply, and the year-end holidays roll around, we tend to feel great sorrow for what we don’t have.

We don’t have them near to celebration this season with them.

We don’t have them near to cuddle with and enjoy their affection, attention, love and devotion.

We don’t have them near to shower with gifts and attend parties and create memories.

But focusing on what we don’t have instead of what we do, only leads us down a path of sadness and feeling sorry for ourselves.

Perhaps, for just a little while today, we can focus on what little things are bringing us joy this season.

Are we thankful for the dinner a neighbor invited us to because our families live far away? Being included with another’s family can be just as rewarding.

Are we thankful for the family and friends who call us, or write us today and share their day’s adventures. We can be happy for them as they’ve been happy for us in days’ past.

Are we thankful that we can reminisce about the lovely times we did share with our loved ones.

Are we thankful for our home, the people who care about us and who are still in our lives?

Being grateful for what we do have brings hope to our lives and elevates the sense of possibility.

I am so grateful for the folks who read my blog, books and who send me notes that my writing has helped them move a little further through their grief journey.

Find the goodness in this day…find a little more goodness in each day.

I’m thinking of you.

My newest book, Holiday Grief: How to Cope with Stress, Anxiety and Depression After a Loved One’s Death is now available on amazon.com.

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A Thanksgiving to Remember

After the death of a loved one, the first Thanksgiving can feel unsettling at best. “Exactly what could I be thankful for?” might be the line playing in your head.

You shouldn’t feel badly for having these feelings as many folks who are grieving at holiday season usually silently say this to themselves, even if they’ll never admit it out loud, for a host of reasons.

But the interesting thing about this holiday, at least for those in the USA, is to step outside our comfort zone and consider, for just a few moments, what you could be grateful for.

The times you shared with your loved one, the happy Thanksgivings you baked pies together, or jokingly quarreled over whether the turkey was better when they made it than when you made it, fussing over the menu and whom to invite.

So, through all your pain this year, try to remember and give thanks for the little things that you enjoyed in years past. And if you have strength, help someone who is even more devastated by life’s circumstances than you.

This little gift of love will brighten your soul.