With Thanksgiving fast approaching, we understand that being thankful in a time of grief can be a wearying task.
As holidays are typically a time of tradition that involve the presence of family and friends, one’s absence is often felt so much stronger during this time of year. To deliver you from grieving their absence, we invite you to instead celebrate and be thankful for the life that they lived, your time spent together, and the impact that they had.
There are many ways to keep the spirits of lost loved ones alive through memory and tradition.
Write down your memories
Provide your guests with pen and paper and ask them to write down a memory that they are thankful for. You then might recommend that they include a memory that involves the person or people that are no longer with you, encouraging thankfulness for moments shared in laughter and happiness. Fold and place the papers full of memories inside of a Memory Jar. When you are in need of memories, open up the jar and read what people wrote. Or, if you and your guests feel ready, read aloud what each other wrote. Keep this jar for Thanksgivings to come and build an annual tradition of adding thankful memories of lost family and friends. You’ll want to remind people to include dates and names of the departed on the memory cards.
Light a candle in their memory
This simple act of remembrance will resonate deeply with your guests and can act as a representation of your lost loved one’s presence at your Thanksgiving table. If you and your guests feel ready, take the time to light the candle and verbally share stories of those lost and ways in which they made you feel thankful.
Incorporate a favorite recipe or drink of your lost loved one in your Thanksgiving celebration. Whether replicating a meal that they enjoyed cooking themselves or ordering from their favored local bake shop, extending their contribution to your Thanksgiving meal will keep their presence alive at your table. Be thankful for the wonderful food or drink that they brought into your home, and keep it as a staple year after year.
If you decide to make one of their famous recipes for your meal, why not send home a written recipe with your guests? This token will help spread the memory of those passed easily and happily.
Plant a tree
Perhaps start a new tradition of planting a tree with your friends and family in thankful remembrance of those that have passed. In planting a tree, you are celebrating life instead of loss. You can always get seedlings now and plant in a pot indoors and then transplant outdoors in the spring. Take the time to relish in the company of the loved ones surrounding you and offer thanks in coming together.
Again, we understand what a difficult time of year this must be for many of you and only hope to help ease the pain of the holidays through creating memory-filled traditions. If you have other practices that you employ to keep the memory of lost loved ones alive during the holidays and would like to share with others please comment, we would love to hear about them.