This Thanksgiving, as I’ve pulled out decorations and searched through recipes, I’ve seen many reminders of my mom and dad. Even though it is our fifth Thanksgiving without mom and tenth without dad, I admit…I miss them. I am so thankful for the years we had with them and the large family gatherings we enjoyed. I know I’ve been fortunate. And I am excited to spend Thanksgiving with our immediate family. They are such a blessing and joy! Yet it also is true that I miss my parents and our extended family gatherings.
As time passes, our pain lessens, but we may still experience smaller “waves of grief” during the holidays. If the loss is more recent, grief often intensifies this time of year. Whether we are grieving the loss of a job, house, close relationship, or loved one, we can find healing by acknowledging our pain. Then we can continue to rebuild our lives by giving thanks for the ways our loved ones have impacted our lives.
This Thanksgiving, consider listing ways you have been affected by your loved ones. Have you adopted some of their characteristics, values, habits, or traditions? Did they teach you life lessons? If you have lost a job or a house, what did you learn from your experiences in that workplace or neighborhood? By acknowledging our losses and anything we’ve gained through our relationships and experiences, we can continue to heal and rebuild our lives.
If you are one who acknowledges God, remember that He cares about everything you experience and that He, too, hates death. Consider taking time to talk with Him about your losses and then thank Him for the strength, hope, and peace that He offers, as well as for how He has used your loved ones and all circumstances in your life.