Dealing with Grief at Thanksgiving: Ten Ways to Honor Your Loved One

By: VGFS
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The holiday season can create a cascade of feelings when you’re bereaved. It brings fond memories for some people, while for others it’s a painful reminder of loss.

For many of us, it represents a bittersweet combination of the two. Whether your loss is recent or it took place years ago, this time of year has a way of stirring up our deepest emotions. Acknowledging your grief and finding positive outlets for it can help you regain a sense of control.

In this article, we’ll share ten ways you can honor your departed loved one at Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season.

1.     Place his or her photo at the dinner table.
When we gather together for Thanksgiving dinner, it represents a time of fellowship and gratitude. Prominently displaying a photograph of your loved one is a poignant gesture that will attract everyone’s attention and keep the joyous memories alive.

2.     Prepare your loved one’s favorite meal.
Was your husband’s fondness for macaroni and cheese legendary? Or perhaps your mom made the world’s best sweet potato casserole? If you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or are asked to bring a dish, whip up a batch of your beloved's favorite food. Be sure to let everyone know its significance as you pass the dish around the table.

3.     Make a special toast.
At the start of the holiday meal, fill some pretty glasses with your loved one’s favorite beverage and drink a toast in his or her honor. As the glasses are raised, ask your guests to share happy stories and favorite recollections. 

4.     Create a tribute video.
If you are technologically savvy, why not sift through your photographs and create a video that honors the one who passed on? Set it to his or her favorite music and share it with your family members and friends after the meal.

5.     Construct a memory table.
If you are hosting the Thanksgiving celebration this year, set up a small table in a quiet part of your home. Ask your guests to bring a memento or favorite photograph of your loved one to add to this display. You may wish to place a battery-operated candle or small electric lamp on the table to signify his or her eternal presence.

6.     Donate your gently used winter clothing.
As cold weather approaches, those who are less fortunate will be in need of jackets, coats, gloves, scarves, and hats. The long holiday weekend provides a great opportunity to clean out your closets and donate some essential winter gear in your loved one’s memory.

7.     Visit your loved one’s final resting place.
Whether it’s at the gravesite or the place where you scattered the cremated remains, spend some quiet time there if you are up to it. Share your feelings with the departed and leave a memento to signify his or her continued presence in your heart.

8.     Create a Thanksgiving memory journal.
Writing down thoughts and feelings often proves to be an effective way to cope with grief. Whether you prefer using a computer or pen and paper, journal some favorite Thanksgiving memories involving your loved one and continue adding entries each year at this time.

9.     Perform a charitable act.
Churches and other charitable organizations usually offer opportunities to "adopt" underprivileged families during the holidays. Why not perform an act of kindness in memory of your loved one and make the holidays brighter for others at the same time? It’s a win-win for everyone!

10.  Enjoy your loved ones.
Remember to live in the moment and appreciate your family and friends. Although you may be missing your departed loved one, your life is still ahead of you. Relish it to the fullest and create new, happy memories.

Do what feels right for you. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to pay homage to your loved one. Whether you perform a few of these ideas or think of some other meaningful way to honor the departed this Thanksgiving, remembrance is a wonderful gift of love.

If you have questions or would like additional help during your period of bereavement, our compassionate professionals are here for you. Please reach out to us anytime.

About Vaughn Greene Funeral Services: For more than 20 years, Vaughn Greene Funeral Services has been providing a ministry of care to Baltimore’s African American community. As a leading local, minority- and family-owned provider, we promise to provide our highest level of service and respect to families who entrust us to honor their loved ones. For more information, please call us at 410.655.0015 or visit us online at https://vaughncgreene.com/.

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