After all it is Thanksgiving and you don’t feel very thankful, you are but it’s difficult to see past your current rain clouds of grief. In fact, you may be feeling aftershocks of a bough breaking experience at this time in your life. I write about this very experience in my book. So what you feeling and experiencing is indeed painful, but equally normal. Do go easy on yourself. The holidays is one of the most difficult times of the year where people experience immense sorrow which begins to surface around November and escalate approaching Christmas and the New Year. Families are continuing to fall victim to COVID deaths as well as those unexpected deaths of loved ones whom appeared to be in the best of health mentally and physically. Although there are vaccines available to combat catching the virus, experts are again recommending no large traditional indoors gatherings especially if you are not vaccinated. Which forces those grieving into bouts of loneliness and even depression if not careful. Thanksgiving is tomorrow and traditional family gathering for many will occur this year because of the inability to gather last year. Many will be overjoyed with excitement whereas for families suffering a loss this Thanksgiving will be that of quite the opposite. Instead my families are suffering great sadness. We all been there at some point in time. If not, you are exceeding blessed, but do keep living.
If the truth be told, you never get over it, you learn to get through it. Below are seven tips for getting through Thanksgiving that helped me and it’s my prayer that these tips help you as well.
1. Grief is a part of healing. So it’s okay to miss your loved one and feel sad about them not being here. In time you will be able to deal with loss better and the holidays. Allow yourself to feel what you are feeling in that moment whether it be happiness, sadness, or guilt. Trust the grieving process.
2. After all its Thanksgiving and yes, you have to eat, but don’t feel obligated to please others, decline the invitation for large gatherings if you so choose and be honest about it.
3. Find a way to honor your loved one. This worked really well for me and I hope it does for you. I do the things I loved doing with my mother and father over the holidays and it makes me feel close to them. It also helped my mind to focus on the happy times I had with them. For Thanksgiving, try cooking your loved ones favorite recipe. They made it for you with love honor them by learning to make it for yourself, and when you’ve mastered it do share it with your family and friends. Make new traditions intertwining with the old ones. Your loved one wanted you to live life to the fullest. Honor their memories by being happy.
4. Spend time helping the less fortunate. Doing so you will remove the focus of sadness from yourself to giving to others. Visit the elderly, get involved at church visiting the sick and shut in. Volunteer your time to read to children at the library, and serve the homeless Thanksgiving dinner at your local shelters.
5. Children and their grief must be handled delicately and can be compounded with that of sadness, feelings of abandonment, and simply a lack of understanding the complexity of death itself. Don’t turn a blinds eye and think their sadness overtime will eventually go away. Children are naturally inquisitive so they will have plenty of questions. Talk to them with honesty. Try to answer their questions and when you can’t be honest about that too. Seek the help of a professional grief counselor to assist your little one with moving through the grieving process.
6. If you hadn’t already consider pet adoption. It is one of the most rewarding things you could do for God’s little furry creatures. Pets are great for helping you move through the grieving process. They are not only great for adults they are awesome for kids. Your pet provides unconditional love. They remove feelings of loneliness and provide protection. Their sensory ability is phenomenal in knowing when you are not at your best emotional and quickly provided consoling just when it’s needed.
7. If none of the above helps, don’t be afraid to seek professional help for yourself. Let family and friends know that you are struggling. Make your pastor and church family aware as well. Prayer and praise can do some amazing things for a broken heart.
I guess you could say, I accomplished a lot professionally, personally and since becoming a published author. With all my success and super hero status, I still miss my mother and father more than words could ever describe. Do I still have moments of great sadness? Yes, but when I do I do some of the things fore-mentioned above. With all that, I also learned to not be so hard on myself. I’m not perfect and neither are you. So there is no perfect storm preparation to deal with grief. Everyone is different and grief itself is the invisible hurricane on your emotional radar that your heart can never truly prepare for. When it hits, it can cause unimaginable devastating effects on your life. It is extremely hard to not mourn the loss of phenomenal people in your life, but those same people prayed that you be just as phenomenal in your own right. God placed them in your life to give your life nuggets to carry on to be just as great if not greater. Remember, you are not alone. There are people that love you and want to help you through this sad time. When you are ready, let them. In all this saddens, there’s good news: God will never abandon us during our times of grief — he will always provide us with love and hope needed to get us through. Revelations 21:4 (NKJV) further tells us, “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” The unimaginable grief in the loss of a loved one does not have to be infinite. The struggle is real, but you can and will recover. Wishing you God’s blessings on your journey back to living, laughing, and loving.