This is a question that I have been asked dozens, if not a
couple hundred times over the past month. They want to know if we
are traveling. They want to know if we are hosting for
Thanksgiving. They want to tell me their Thanksgiving plans. It is
simply polite conversation during the month of
What’s interesting for me is that no one in my life has
thought to ask me, “How are you doing this Thanksgiving?” No one
has asked how we might be honoring Andy. No one seems to have
thought at all about the empty seat at our table and the fact that
Thanksgiving might, in fact, still be a hard day for us, even five
years after Andy’s death.
Certainly, no one is trying to be insensitive at all. I just
don’t think it dawns on them, but, the fact is, Thanksgiving is
still hard when you are in the midst of grief. Looking at that
empty chair today will bring moments of sadness.
This week’s podcast is a discussion of what it feels like to
gather and give thanks during grief. We asked for insights from
listeners and we got them! We got true honest answers about feeling
thankful and NOT feeling thankful. We got answers about what we
might be dreading as well as who we are turning to in order to help
us get through this day and others like it.
So what is the answer to that unasked question? ‘How am I this
Thanksgiving?’ The answer - I don’t know yet. Will I be 99%
grateful and happy today or will I be 99% miserable? Probably the
answer will lie somewhere in the middle. Honestly, the less the
miserable aspect is acknowledged, the more miserable I am likely to
So where does this leave us as we go through this Thanksgiving
Day and the next month of the Christmas season? These are answers I
1. Acknowledge that it can be hard, but enjoy the moments that
bring joy whether 1% or 99%.
2. Acknowledge the empty seat at the table while trying to
appreciate the chairs that are full.
3.Allow yourself to feel the whole spectrum of emotions,
because only then can healing begin.