As we celebrate Thanksgiving, not everyone may be in a space or place to feel grateful. Grief can show up even more during the holidays, hitting you like a ton of bricks, all over again. If you have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, through a divorce or death, you may try to channel the things you are thankful for, and in reality, it feels like "Forced Gratitude."
Grief & Gratitude can both co-exist. You can feel the despair and sadness of a loss, AND, be grateful for what you have. Both can be true. These feelings may ebb and flow- be stronger at some points, and muted at others. It can feel confusing and unexpected.
If you are experiencing grief during the holidays, be kind to yourself. Be patient with yourself. Tune into what your needs are, and then, meet those needs. They will look differently for everyone, and will be different for you at times; you may need time alone, while others need to be surrounded by loved ones, or both. Do what you need to do for you.
Honor your grief. It may not feel like it right now, but your grief will not be this strong forever; tend to it, nurture it, soothe it.
Take care of you.
How to honor your grief:
Spend time remembering your loved one- this could be on a walk or a hike, engaging in a favorite activity you enjoyed together, listening to music you both loved, anything that was special for you and your loved one. This tool allows for connection with your loved one.
Write a letter to your loved one. Share with them how you are feeling, what you miss about them, and how you are managing right now. This is a tool that allows us to release our emotions.
Surround yourself with others who are also missing your loved one. Share stories, connect, hug. This tool provides support that you are not alone, and others are too, experiencing similar grief.
Give yourself Grace. Recognize that how you feel, and what you need may change by the minute. It's OK.
Be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, love yourself-- just as your departed one loved you.