As Thanksgiving approaches many will fall into the old familiar patterns but if you’re feeling beaten-up-by-covid, this is your opportunity to change the way your family celebrates.

Thanksgiving has always been about celebrating goodness in spite of the hardships we face but for many of us, life was pretty smooth sailing right up until the spring of 2020.   As we look back from here, most of the roadblocks we encountered in our pre-covid lives, now seem like speed bumps.  Covid brought home the lesson our ancestors knew:  Life is not always, long, smooth or easy. 

Grief hovers constantly on the edge of our lives but when we live in calm and easy times it’s easy to forget or ignore the grief-y bits.    We go to jobs and pay bills most often forgetting the fact that time and circumstance have always carved their way through human lives.   People come to us and often leave again long before we’re ready.   We have hopes that turn into dreams and others that don’t come to fruition.  

Grief is an emotion we all feel but we don’t always take the time to acknowledge it.  As you carve the turkey this year, turn your mind to the folks and dreams that have been carved from your life since covid began.    Remember those who are no longer with us and give thanks for those who still are.   Think about the days ahead and the chances we each still have, to forge new dreams for the coming year.

If you’re weary, simplify the day and keep your celebration small.  Covid has exhausted all of us and there’s no need to add to the exhaustion.

Take a moment during your day to honour the people who did not make it and the plans that had to change.   

Celebrate the ones who made it through and let’s all give special thanks for any clothes that still fit us after the lockdown pounds were gained and lost.

According to less than 200 years ago few of us would have lived to see our 45th birthday, today most of us expect to live long and healthy lives.   If you’re reading this, you’ve survived everything that life has thrown at you so far.   You deserve credit for what you’ve been through and recognition for what it cost you to get this far.

Let this Thanksgiving sharpen your perceptions of the fragility of life.

You survived and that’s worth celebrating.

Written by Catherine Mitchell, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist serving the Durham Region.