When you are grieving the loss of someone you love, even Thanksgiving Day feels painful. I don’t share this today to make you sad, rather I share it because you are my extended family and I am yours – we are fellow travelers. During our lifetimes we will lose people and they will lose us because that’s the way the cycle of life goes. When we suffer a loss we question if we will ever be able to overcome the pain and feel happy again. Even poor Charlie Brown had doubts, “I think I’m losing control of the whole world” he once sighed.
Giving thanks seems strange when we only feel like crying, but here are a few suggestions on how to go about it:
– Make a conscious decision to live. Get out of bed every day and put your feet on the floor even if they don’t feel like walking.
– Allow yourself private time and space to listen to songs that were important to your loved one and cry some more. Maybe later switch to a different kind of music to distract yourself.
– Take a walk. Have a little talk with your loved one and allow the tears to flow; they are healing you.
– Write your longings in a private journal. Expressing your feelings is crucial for your journey.
– Go to someone else’s house this year or go to a movie if you don’t feel like cooking – normal has been redefined for you.
– If you have children or grandchildren, give them a hug. Children don’t always understand death, but they sure do understand life and it will rub off on you.
I remember a song from my teenage years that included a part about a father and son going for a walk. They came across a little white rabbit frozen in the snow. The son says “And I cried for the little white rabbit, but Dad said that the owl would never have been so gentle and God is so kind”. Sometimes I understand that and sometimes not so much, but the hope that someday I will always understand it keeps me going in the right direction.
Gentle thoughts to you this Thanksgiving from our family to yours.