Thursday, November 22, 2012
Be thankful. Or don't. It's OK.
I remember Thanksgiving two years ago, just a couple weeks after Jeremy's death. Well, when I say I remember it, I actually don't remember much about it other than I was deep in the pits of despair and grief. But what I surprisingly remember was the the sense of responsibility I felt to voice being thankful in some way. I remember putting up a status on Facebook about trying not to dwell on what I lost and trying to focus on what I could be thankful for.
But the truth was, I was not thankful for anything.
I'm not so blinded as to not understand that I had things to be thankful for. But I didn't feel thankful. I couldn't image my life being any worse. I was even pissed that I was still around to suffer through the days without the love of my life. Why did I have to express thankfulness?
Because that's what we're supposed to do...
This holiday tends to start a chain reaction of responsibility and expectations for grievers through the end of the year. It sucks. Sometimes empty. It's hard to feel thankful when the person you were most thankful for is no longer there.
Knowing things could be worse doesn't take away the pain of losing someone. Knowing we have much to be thankful for doesn't lessen the injustice of what we've been through. Sometimes the insinuation is enough to make things worse.
Here's what I know: don't worry about the expectations of others or even the expectations we tend to put on ourselves. It's OK to not get into the hype and hoopla of the holidays. Don't feel pressured to please others or keep up with traditions alone if it hurts too much. It's OK to take a break for awhile and keep things simple. It's OK to feel angry, sad, or irritated with others for getting to celebrate what you have now lost. It's OK to do things YOUR way.
Here's what else I know: If you do feel thankful, that's OK. If you feel blessed that you've got a second chance at life even in the midst of losing something so special, that's OK. If you're in a place where you can look at your blessings and appreciate them in a way that only grief will let you, that's OK.
Don't let others dictate where your heart is at. This holiday season, be true to you.