The holidays often cause even emotionally healthy people to falter. So, is it any wonder that people who have recently lost a loved one to death struggle between the months of November through January? With so many memories tied to the deceased, people who are actively grieving often tell us they wish they could go to sleep for the holidays and wake up after the start of the new year. Since that isn’t an option, allow us to offer a few ideas for navigating the murky waters of Thanksgiving grief.
How to Get Through Thanksgiving Grief
Allow Yourself the Luxury of Grief
This holiday will be different. It’s okay to acknowledge that fact. You may even want to set aside time to mourn over lost traditions. If your loved one was sick before he or she passed, you may struggle with bad memories of recent holidays that were not as cheery as years past. Try to take comfort in the fact your loved one is no longer suffering. If death was unexpected, you may feel traumatized and unable to celebrate the way you used to. That’s okay. Let yourself feel sad and realize that this is just a season of life. Believe it or not, things will get easier, even if you don’t necessarily want them to at the moment.
Consider Changing Things Up to Eliminate Thanksgiving Grief
If you and your loved one enjoyed specific holiday events together, you may want to temporarily give them up until the pain is less severe. Another option is to go through with the event even though it will, admittedly, be different. If you’ve walked the road of grief for any period of time, you realize that no matter what you do, some things are going to change. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You will eventually start to create new traditions that are not as difficult to navigate. Just as every relationship is special, each journey is unique. There is no right or wrong way to approach your pain.
Build a Memorial into the Holiday
Just because your loved one has passed doesn’t mean you have to go through the holidays without acknowledging the impression they made on your life while they were here. Some people take comfort in creating a special holiday memory designed specifically to honor the loved one who died. Light a candle. Purchase a keepsake ornament or holiday plate or make a donation in their name.
Decide Where to Spend Thanksgiving
Some mourners take comfort in repeating annual traditions, such as going to Thanksgiving dinner at the same place you celebrated in years past. Others prefer shaking things up. If this is you, find somewhere totally different to spend the holiday. Head to Vegas. Or drive up to the mountains. Head out of town to visit long-lost relatives or friends. Who knows? You may end up loving the new tradition.
Tell friends and family what you need to help make it through. Tell them not only what you need but what you don’t need. Most people just want to help. So, if you prefer that they refrain from walking down memory lane after pie, let them know. If you want to reminisce, let them know it’s okay to open that bittersweet can of worms. And whatever you do, give yourself permission to grieve…not just at Thanksgiving but whenever you feel the need.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Foothill Funeral & Cremation
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation in Glendora, California
Whatever you believe about what happens when you die, we can take care of what you leave on earth. When the time comes, if you so desire, we would value the opportunity to help you pre-plan for yourself or a family member or friend. Feel free to contact us now to pre-plan your own memorial or at your time of need (626) 335-0615. Our relationship with United Methodist Church and Sacred Heart provide great places for mourners to host funerals and memorials. You’ll love the grandiose yet intimate settings in both locations.