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Thanksgiving Grief

Written by: Janet Quiroga, Hotline Coordinator

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. It is a time for gathering with loved ones, to give thanks and enjoy good food. Although to those who have lost a loved one, Thanksgiving can be the total opposite. It can make them question what there is to be grateful for, if their loved one is no longer around. The usual rituals and traditions that were once associated with this holiday can now cause pain and feelings of loss.

So how can one get through Thanksgiving after the death of a loved one?

  • Choose to not participate.

Do not feel obligated to participate. If you need to just be at home, or do something else, then do so. It is your choice!

  • Share about them during dinner.

When everyone is going around the dinner table, sharing what they are thankful for, share about them and why you were thankful for them.

  • Changing old traditions.

If there is something you did every year, but can’t bear to do anymore, then start a new tradition or simply remove the one you would no longer like to do.

  • Volunteer

Occupy yourself by giving back. Volunteering can help fill the gaps during the day when you would like to not be alone.

  • Have a safe space/quiet room.

If you are hosting dinner or at someone’s home, have a safe space to retreat to when needed. Being around loved ones can become overwhelming when you are emotionally drained and just trying to get through the day.  Remember to take care of yourself and know when you need a break from everything.

If you find yourself in need of speaking to someone during the holidays, call or text the WA State Crime Victim Service Center Hotline at 1-888-288-9221. There are advocates available 24/7.