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, but 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 often think of 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 song and sometimes not so much, but it keeps me going in the right direction.
Gentle thoughts to you this Thanksgiving from our family to yours.