By Susan Fraser -November 20,2020
Thanksgiving is a great moment to pause, reflect, and express gratefulness in a busy world. But it can also bring a lot of pain, especially for grieving families entering the holiday season without their loved one.
This year has been rough for millions of families. Even those not personally affected by the pandemic have felt the sting of isolation from family and friends.
Even though the holidays may look different for you and your family this year, it's okay to take time and think about how you, as a family, will navigate this new normal, both during Covid 19 and the absence of your loved one.
Whether you go all out or keep it simple, food preparation can be overwhelming. Especially if the person who’s passed carried out much of the holiday planning. If this was a favorite holiday for your loved one, it can be even more difficult.
Take planning slow and make it easy. You might want to look for meal ideas online. There are lots of sources for recipes with tips to simplify or exchange ingredients as needed. A little advance research makes it easier for selecting a menu that will help you honor your loved ones in a way that seems right.
Remember to have grace on yourself and your family members. Things won’t be perfect, and that’s ok. Grief and celebration can happen at the same time. Families do not have to give up on their cherished traditions just because there is now an empty seat at the table.
By taking time to honor a loved one on a holiday such as Thanksgiving, families give themselves the opportunity to enjoy those memories and keep them alive.
Remembering Your Loved Ones During the Holidays:
Bring Back Memories of Past Holiday
There’s a reason that so many holidays focus on food. People love to eat together. Sharing meals is a part of building community. It’s an opportunity to pass down beloved family recipes and delight in everyone’s special creations.
Before the holiday, families may want to sit down and bring back memories of previous years. You can recount stories of famous meal disasters or even just note the particular favorites.
This process can help to identify which traditions are the most important to keep, as well as the ones that might trigger an outpouring of grief.
Set a Place
The first holiday after a loved one dies can be one of the most difficult moments that families have to go through. Many people are afraid of expressing their grief for fear they will not be able to control themselves or trigger extreme pain for someone else. And yet, they often sit down at the Thanksgiving table and realize that there is one empty seat.
Setting a place for a lost loved one is a way to honor them at a time when their presence is missed the most.
Prepare a Favorite Meal
Experts recommend family members to keep track of old family recipes, particularly those that are favorites. It ensures that these recipes will be passed down for generations. Keeping these records and ensuring that multiple family members have them helps when teaching the recipe to the younger generation. It also is a great bonding experience across generations.
When dealing with the loss of someone, it may help to cook their favorite, share memories and stories of why this meal is important, and share this with others. This allows you and your family to process the loss while enjoying a wonderful meal.
There are many ideas to cope with grief and still have your loved one be part of this time of the year. A great way to do this is by decorating their urn or special place of remembrance. Also, there are many holiday memorials that you will love.
Our Memorial Leaves and many Custom Christmas Ornaments are perfect to honor your loved one this season and a great addition to your Christmas tree. Add their names or even a picture of them for the perfect customization that will keep that special person closer than ever.
Make Time for Grieving
Sitting down to a cherished holiday meal and realizing that someone is missing can make the holidays harder for grieving families to celebrate.
Sometimes, it’s better to acknowledge that sadness than to try and pretend it’s not there. It helps many people who are grieving to remember that their loved ones are still nearby as long as they are remembered.
Taking the opportunity to talk about loved ones who cannot be there, those who have passed and those who are simply out of reach at this time, is a way to make room for the grief of everyone who is there.