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grieving during thanksgiving


Across the nation, millions of families and friends are making their thanksgiving plans. They are searching for treasured recipe cards, making grocery lists the length of a CVS receipt, and pulling out platters to be filled with turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. For many, the thought of thanksgiving brings a sense of nostalgia and gratitude for comfort food, football teams, and the simple gift of gathering with the ones you love. However, in the midst of a holiday centered around all that you have, many are facing the painful awareness of all that they have lost.

In the book On Grief & Grieving, by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. & David Kessler, they write, “It is a tremendous and heartrending adjustment you must make to a new world full of losses. No one can stand where you are and survey all that you have lost. That is for you and you alone to know. Perhaps you can take comfort in knowing that with time, you will discover a world of things outside yourself and inside yourself that you never knew existed. But for now, your task is to grieve.” Whether that is an absence around the dinner table or dream unfulfilled, no grief is diminished, and no loss forgotten. Though it might feel awkward, disjointed, or even threatening, Thanksgiving is still meant for you.

This time of year, gratitude is often made up of platitudes that get passed around the table like a basket of rolls. It is easy to lose a sense of wonder for the beauty in our lives when those dreams or relationships seem certain and unchanging. May gratitude feel more visceral and real as you remember all that sustained you this year. May you take the hand of whoever is still present at your table. And may your table be full of stories, even ones joined by tears. Though clouded by grief, your world still stands. And joy will find you again.

If you or someone you love would like additional support with grief, give us a call at 615-591-5262. You don’t have to walk this road alone.

Blog written by Master’s Level Intern, India Lacerda

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The Refuge Center for Counseling is a 501c3 nonprofit organization (20-3831943). We are also a United Way of Williamson County Partner Organization.