This past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving. It’s long been my favorite holiday. It’s a holiday with no monetary expectations. You hang out with family and friends, reflect on what you’re thankful for and eat a delicious meal. It’s right up my mindset alley.
This year was different for many of us, we were missing people at the table and it was just not the same.
This is what every holiday/family event has been like since Kayla’s been gone. Nothing is the same.
We love to entertain, to have the house full of people and it’s usually loud. We still do that(well pre covid anyway) but there’s the empty chair. It’s still fun to be with everyone but, like everyone’s celebrations this year, there’s something missing.
So what do you do to get through?
First of all, you need to change your perspective. We aren’t getting through. It’s a time to enjoy those that are still here with us. It’s a time to reflect on being thankful for all the fun times you had pre-grief with your people/person that is no longer physically here.
You also need to talk about it. You need to speak the person’s name and say you wish they were there. It’s ok to do that. Don’t worry about bringing everyone down because, if you keep it inside, you’ll keep them all down ANYWAY.
If you’re that friend and family member that’s been shying away because you don’t know what to say when someone is grieving on a holiday, here is some advice:
Ask us how we are feeling. Don’t worry you won’t “remind us” of our loss. It’s always there.
Say the person’s name. I’m sure you miss that special loved one too.
Don’t try to “fix” us. Just listen to what we have to say. Don’t give us advice or platitudes. Don’t tell us that the person that’s gone would want us to enjoy Thanksgiving. Just say, I support you however you need today.
So this past Thanksgiving you may have gotten a little bit of an idea of what a grieving persons holidays are like. So how do I manage them?
As I get more intimately familiar with my grief, I rely more and more on my tools. I meditate, I exercise, I make sure I feed my body properly so I have the energy to keep myself in a proper mindset.
I practice gratitude believe it or not. Daily gratitude reflections have really helped me even through the days that I struggled to find one thing to be grateful for.
I walk. I go to the forest 😊 and I do some birdwatching because that calms me down.
I see my grandsons because they bring me a ton of joy.
But I don’t push Kayla from my mind in all of this. In these times, I reflect on many memories of Kayla while I’m doing these activities and it brings me back. It gives me happiness to think of her.
So, if you’re grieving it’s my hope that my words today have helped you. And if you’re that supportive friend or family member, thank you on behalf of all of us.
Until next week