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My parents are dead – So how can I be grateful at Thanksgiving?

Are you asking this question today? I’ve asked it every November for more than a decade. My parents weren’t just part of Thanksgiving. They were Thanksgiving.

How do I salvage the holiday now? What can I tell you so you can piece together a Thanksgiving celebration that isn’t simply tolerable but actually enjoyable?

I’ll warn you right now, some Thanksgivings really suck, especially the ones right after a death. Grief is expert at ambush, walloping you just when you think “I’ve got this.” An empty seat, a cherished tradition, a Christmas song on the car radio. All kinds of triggers lie about this time of year.

woman on gray cardigan standing near table doing cheers

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As hard as we try, grief is going to body slam us now and then. It’s inevitable, like a chemical reaction. We combine over-the-top holiday expectations and the stark reality that our mother, father, brother, husband, sister or other loved one is gone and won’t be back. And then bam! The tears come. Because Thanksgiving will never be the same. And we can’t change that.

But that does not mean that we cannot be grateful – at Thanksgiving or at any time of the year. In fact, gratitude can become an energizing force that powers our lives day in and day out. But how?

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3 Year Anniversary & The Most Popular Posts – You Made It Possible

I want to thank you, each of this blog’s followers and readers, for your steadfast support and insightful comments. If you are new to this platform – and I know some folks have signed on recently – I want to extend a personal welcome. You are noticed.

light sign typography lighting

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I can hardly believe this blog has been in existence for three years. That’s right, November 2019 marks three years. I pray I’ve been a conduit of God’s comfort and wisdom to help you through your grief journey and give perspective that will outlast the tears.

I work regularly on my writing craft and on my personal journey to bring additional tools to the table to better serve you better. If you ever have any suggestions for topics or even a different perspective or experience than one I’ve offered, please feel free to share it.

In fact, I hope you’ll take a moment to leave a comment right now. Tell me what two or three topics you’d like to see me address or address more regularly. I’d love to hear from you.

As at the onset of writing this blog, I strive to publish a new post every week. However, sometimes I instead post one within 10 to 14 days, and occasionally I post two in a week’s time. Is a week a sweet spot for you? Is two weeks too long? Again, comment below and let me know.

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When We Feel Stuck in Our Grief

How much should we focus on the progression of our grief? On whether we are “doing better”?

The question came up this week when I received an email from a man who thought an associate was “stuck” in grief. He wanted assistance. He wanted the person to experience healing.

A worthy desire. However, the person may or may not be “stuck.”


Photo by ahmad syahrir on

I tread lightly when I hear someone brandish “stuck” in relationship to grief. It’s just too easy for outsiders to label us with a condition in need of a fast cure. Grief isn’t finished after the funeral. It isn’t done after the first year. Nor the year after that.

We also can become impatient with ourselves, feeling we aren’t moving along quickly enough. We may feel – yes – stuck. How, we ask, do I extract myself from this hellish sorrow?

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