Gratitude and Grief: Coping With Loss On Thanksgiving
When you are grieving, Thanksgiving can be a difficult time. While everyone else is eating turkey and pumpkin pie, you may feel left out, or sad thinking about the loved one that has passed away.
The absence of their presence can feel overwhelming when you’re used to spending time with them during the holidays.
But there are ways to honor your loved one’s memory during Thanksgiving and express gratitude for the time you were able to spend with them while also taking care of yourself.
1. Have Some Alone Time
If you feel upset, go to a room that is free from people and spend some time alone and away from the Thanksgiving dinner. Those around you will be understanding if you need to spend some time alone during festivities.
Spending time with those who understand what you are going through will create an atmosphere not only comfortable enough for grieving but also respectful of Thanksgiving traditions at the same time.
2. Contact a Support Group or Mental Health Professional
Thanksgiving may be overwhelming this year, but you’re not alone. There are grief support groups all around the country that can help you through the holidays.
Others with similar experiences may be able to offer you some solace and understanding.
You’ll come across others going through a loss, and talking to individuals outside of your social circle might provide you some comfort.
Here are some links to online grief support groups:
If you want more one-on-one assistance, finding a grief therapist in your region specializing in assisting people in dealing with this challenging time in their lives is a popular alternative.
We have provided links to help you get started:
If you are in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevent Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
3. Reminisce About Your Loved One With Stories and Photos
You may wish to honor and remember someone you love on Thanksgiving if they have passed away. After all, you’re used to spending the holidays together, and nothing would make you happier than everything returning to normal.
You can celebrate their life while beginning the process of adjusting to the holidays without them by your side. Allowing yourself and others permission to tell stories and share photos and videos of your loved one can also be beneficial for celebrating cherished memories.
Tell your friends and family how you’re feeling, and see what they have to say. While this may cause you to feel something, you’re surrounded by people who care about you and want to help you through your sorrow.
4. Express Your Emotions With Journaling
It can be an overwhelming and intense experience to wake up on Thanksgiving morning to discover that your loved one is no longer with you to share in the fun.
If you’ve ever tried writing everything down in a journal or as a letter to someone special, but it never seemed to come out right, you should try it again.
Embracing your emotions can help relieve the tension of your grief. If you feel as if you will cry while journaling, let yourself cry. This is for you and will help you process your feelings as you go about your day.
5. Practice Your Loved One’s Favorite Traditions, or Create New Ones
Some customs may be tough to continue without your loved one. But you should look for a way to honor your loved one’s memory. This will assist you in finding ways to continue their legacy after they’ve gone.
If carrying out the custom this year is too difficult for you, that’s fine. Either drop it or delegate the holiday routine to someone else for this year. There will always be another chance to pay tribute to them in the future.
Families grow and shrink over time, with some customs fading away and new ones emerging.
Consider establishing a new tradition if the old ones are too much for you to handle or if you want to pay tribute to your loved one. You may choose to continue doing whatever new custom you come up with or use it as a one-time practice. You can go at your own pace.
6. Prepare Your Loved One’s Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes
It’s a wonderful idea to offer your guests your loved one’s favorite Thanksgiving dish to honor their memory. One of the hallmarks of Thanksgiving is to celebrate togetherness and to express gratitude for our loved ones.
You can share your loved one’s favorite recipes with your guests and prepare baked goods such as pies or cakes that they can take home with them.
7. Visit Their Final Resting Place or Create a Memorial Table
Another alternative for this Thanksgiving is to go out and have a great physical connection with your loved one.
Whether you go alone or with others, whether it’s at their gravesite or in the park where you used to walk together, finding a place that you know they’d appreciate and spending some time there will help you get some fresh air while connecting to their memory.
Setting up a monument table in memory of your lost loved one may help you and your family grieve. Request that each person bring a personal memento, photograph, or item that is dear to them. Consider lighting a candle in their memory to signify their presence.
For tips on how to create a memorial for your loved one, please read our article:
Memorial Services: Telling the Story of a Lifetime.
Remember, You’re Not Alone
Grieving over the loss of a loved one during a holiday that symbolizes togetherness can be challenging. We hope these tips help you find some comfort and peace during this difficult time. Remember that it’s okay not to be okay, but it is also essential to take care of yourself to continue honoring your loved one by living your best life.
For more information on how to deal with the loss of a loved one during the holidays, please read our articles:
National Cremation is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of simple and affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan your cremation services in advance, we’re always available to assist you and your family. Contact us online or call (855)-469-9474 today.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided as an educational resource and should not be used as a substitute for professional expertise, diagnosis, and treatment regarding a specific medical condition. Please consult your healthcare provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes or doing any physical exercises. In addition, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by grief or depression, contact a mental health professional.