If my daughter were to show up at my door on Thanksgiving Day I’d hug her howling, laughing, dancing, throwing myself at her. It would look like the videos on Facebook of veterans returning home being greeted by their old loving dogs.
Then, after the emotional reunion, I’d merrily mess around in the kitchen all day fixing her favorite foods and stuffing the fridge to last a whole week. I’d make her 3 different cranberry relishes and the recipe of pumpkin ice cream pie I found online last week. She would tear the breadcrumbs for the stuffing and make a carrot cake. If she were here the house would have flowers and candles. We were foodies together. And this was our holiday.
Damn it. If I have to cry my way through it, I AM gonna make a pie on Thanksgiving this year. Wegmans can make the turkey and Roses Home Dish can make the sides, but I will make cranberry sauces and pie. There will be leftover-turkey enchiladas and wines for my son who will be asleep upstairs while I work wailing in the kitchen.
This will be the 4th Thanksgiving without Marika. I think I’m learning how to handle this.
Convinced that one can grieve and be grateful at the same time, I’m calling it Thanksgrieving.
So here are my tips:
- Treat yourself like you’re the guest. Be good to yourself because a part of the one you love now lives on inside of you. Our beloveds won’t be seated at the table but they are seated in our hearts. So carry on the way (s)he would have wanted.
- Allow yourself to cry. Let the pain run out in tears. Pull out old photos, phone your sister in Florida to reminisce, chop onions, and cry like a lemon being juiced.
- If you can’t find something to be thankful for, go do something nice for another. In 3½ years of mourning my daughter, I found the most joy always comes from giving someone else something to be grateful about.
So go do this holiday, my friends. You are not alone.
What do you love and remember on Thanksgiving? And who is in your heart?