Archive for Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving: Don’ts and Dos

IMG_3029When making bereavement phone calls around Thanksgiving to those who have had a loved one die, I often ask, “Is it okay for me to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving?”

I don’t want my “Happy Thanksgiving” to be an autopilot greeting or a token farewell. As I try to be supportive, I don’t want to assume anything. This year, this holiday, is different in the worst way for the family I’m contacting.

It’s the small things that are missed most after a death. Sharing coffee. Joking about the year the garbage disposal clogged on the potato peelings (though it wasn’t funny back then!) Taking the evening walk after the big meal. Complaining about the whacky, out-of-town uncle who always arrives late with a lame excuse and a cheap bottle of wine. Washing dishes together after everyone has left. Playing board games with the kids, even when the kids are now adults.

Aren’t Thanksgivings—and other holidays—a struggle under “normal” circumstances? The family get-togethers may be charming on television commercials, but can be alarming in reality. Old arguments and new tensions are avoided most of the year, but Christmas or New Year parties forces everyone into the same room. On that Thanksgiving where your kid spends the day with the family of his or her “special friend” . . . you say you understand (and you do, but you don’t). There’s the call that comes from the loved one stationed overseas. Or the phone that never rings. We fret over carving a turkey, but holidays have a way of carving our hearts. Read More →

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