Thanksgiving is traditionally a time when we give thanks for the good in our lives. This can be tough to do when someone you love has passed away. So how can you celebrate Thanksgiving when you and your family are missing your loved one?
Remember and talk about them. Take the time to share photos and stories. Encourage family members to reminisce. Talk about the good times and comfort each other when remembering the bad.
Make their favorite dish. Allow yourself to enjoy it, even if your loved one is not here to enjoy it with you. Later, you can share the recipe with other family members along with a photo of your loved one.
Decorate the final resting place. You and your family can make a special trip to your loved one’s final resting place. If it’s in a cemetery, you can decorate their grave site with fall-themed flowers (like yellow or orange). If you have a special memorial setup in your home, you can decorate it with candles, pictures, flowers and other mementos.
Say a prayer for them. As you and your family sit down to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner, request a prayer be said for your loved one during the blessing. An alternative to a prayer is a moment of silence in honor of your loved one’s memory.
Be open with grieving. There may be times where you or another family member may have a moment of grief during the dinner or related activities. Let it be known it is okay to cry and express missing your loved one. It not only releases the emotion and mental pain, but also allows everyone to heal.
Enjoy your family and friends. Remember to live in the moment and appreciate your family and friends. You may be missing your loved one who passed away but you still have your life ahead you. Live to the fullest and create new memories.
The holiday season can be tough to get through when you’re missing your loved one. Allow yourself to feel sad and to express your grief.
Thanksgiving is the season to be grateful. Remember to allow yourself to enjoy your blessings, including the fact that your loved one was a part of your life.
Additional Resources for Depression and Grieving
The loss of a loved one is tough, but facing a bout of depression related to your grieving process can make it extremely difficult to heal. The best way to cope with the loss of a loved one and manage depression is to get professional care. Your mental health plays a big part in your overall emotional well being. Addressing your depression means taking a step toward healing – and you don’t have to have sticker shock when considering reaching out for help. If you need free or low-cost resources, here are some available options:
For immediate assistance: These free crisis support hotlines are powerful resources. You can call at any time of the day or night and counselors will stay on the line with you for as long as you need. They can also provide additional resources specific to your situation – and with complete confidentiality.
- The Center: (1-888-771-5166) The Center (in Seattle, Washington) provides a free depression hotline where you can speak to someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- United Way Helpline: (1-800-233-HELP) They also assist in finding additional local resources by using their research website.
For online/email resources:
- Grieving.com: This is a forum community where you can discuss in-depth concerns or specific grief-related matters. The community provides support and resources. Signup is free.
- Griefnet.org: This community provides email support groups specific to your situation and needs. The recommended requested donation is $10 a month per group.
- Crisischat.org: A service where you can talk about your feelings and concerns with a counselor. This is a free service and donations are accepted.
For understanding and information:
- Helpguide.org: Helpguide.org is an expert, ad-free online resource. The site provides in-depth information to help you understand the different stages of grieving and knowing when grief turns into clinical depression.
Regardless of where you are emotionally, it’s important to remember that help is available. You can reach out from the privacy of your own home and find solace and healing. And remember – seeking help for your grief-related depression (or any depression) is never a sign of weakness. It’s an incredible sign of strength and you should be proud of each step you take, no matter how small.