Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and while that is a happy time for many people, it can also be filled with some sadness. Even though I have a happy life now I still get a little sad at the holidays. I miss people that have passed on, I long for peaceful relationships, I wish I could gather my family up and have my cousins and aunties around me like I did when I was a kid. But staying in the land of “I wish” isn’t healthy because you miss all the great things about what you do have.
Your definition of family and holidays might change but each new day, each chance to give thanks, is a blessing. I say this as someone who has been through a lot. Many of you write me, and you tell me what you’ve been through, and I’ve been right where you are.
I wish I could ease the sadness that people may feel at the holidays. But if you are feeling bad right now, know that loneliness does not have to be permanent. Please know that. Even taking small steps to meet others and share pieces of your life can help you move beyond loneliness. You are here for a reason and you have a purpose. Never forget how important your life is, and how much others can benefit from hearing your story.
As I write this, I am holding on to the tradition of making my grandma’s cranberry recipe. It’s a family secret! Mostly because, grandma didn’t write the recipe down and none of us really remember it exactly. But I think what I make is close and I think she’d like that. No matter what I’m doing with my holiday, even when I go somewhere else, I still make that dish. It makes me think of her and good family memories and besides that my husband loves it. A bonus to bringing your own traditions into the present is that they get transformed to include the people who are most precious to you now.
Hold on to the traditions you loved best and create new ones. Don’t try to mask the sadness or hide it away with things like pills or alcohol. It’s okay if you cry and talk about people you miss, but allow yourself to be comforted by people who are there now. If your heart is breaking right now, let it break open, all the way, until you can feel the joy of today along with some of the sadness. Eventually, that joy will make everything worthwhile, but you have to open your heart all the way in order to finally feel it.