Give Thanks: Even When It’s Difficult

We are entering into that time of year where everyone begins to be thankful for what they have in life. For us, we are heartbroken for what we don’t have, and yet, at the same time, we are grateful for the love we have experienced and enjoyed in life. This does not negate the fact that it hurts (badly) (deeply) to not have them here with us today.

If there was one thing I could say to every widow this Thanksgiving it would be “Find a way to be grateful for what you do have”. And I don’t say this flippantly, I’ve looked 15 Thanksgivings in the face and been there wister! I know the choices we all face: Show up for that dinner, run away and forget it all/ isolate myself, lose it in the bathroom and then return to the scene of those who misunderstand, the never ending platitudes projected our way to make us feel better and to move on… I anywhere near the ballpark of what you’ve possibly experienced?

It’s ok.

It is what it is.

That exists in the world. Yes. However, you exist in the world too.

You are what I care about the most. Because of the pain I’ve known, I am compelled to do anything within my power to reduce yours because I know it matters. I humbly offer a few words of wisdom.

  • Honor Thanksgiving by Honoring Your Ability to Be Grateful For What You Do Have: What is that? Hint: It is more than likely all those little, seemingly insignificant things that might be taken for granted, or the things that are very near your real life that because grief has a way of giving us tunnel vision, where we haven’t been able to look up or look around to see them.
  • Jump Into the Holidays with a Parachute: What is your parachute? Hint: Imagine what it is by your side every minute during these tough months. Your faith, a pet, a passion, a desire, a community, a purpose, a person, or even yourself (unselfishly become someone closer who uplifts you).
  • Be Response-Able: Have a little conversation with yourself. Find a moment to get in touch with your hidden fears that ‘life doesn’t love you anymore’. It is such a false lie. Cry all that energy out of your body because what it will be replaced with is penultimate courage. Just when you need it the most! Courage will aid you in these dark days by putting on an armor of truth. Hint: It looks like healthy boundaries, honest communication, open feelings and a guilt free, miraculous space to cope. You will be able to respond in a way that nurtures you.

Disciplining ourselves to focus on these takes dedication and a commitment to ourselves. I didn’t know this wisdom in year one or year two, but fast forward today and I’ve used every single one to get me through another holiday season. You are doing the best you can and I’m so proud of you. There may not be anyone there to tell you how much you are loved and valued, but please know there are millions of other widows who know! You are one, but you not alone.