Thanksgiving for the Emotionally Impaired

Note: This post was originally published in 2014

It’s Thanksgiving; my second Thanksgiving without the love of my life. I’m still breathing, but one shallow breath at a time. The second year of holidays seems to be much harder. The first year, I made sure to have plans. I don’t think I had a moment alone except when I was sleeping, (not that I slept all that well). This year is much more intense. Everyone’s life has moved on except mine, and my eight-year-old daughter’s.

So, what to do? The only thing I can think to do is not focus on our all-encompassing loss as much as I am capable; which, as I write this seems as close to impossible as one can get. Instead, I am going to focus on others. I am looking forward to serving dinner at one of the shelters in Los Angeles, where I live.

To be around homeless, suffering souls feels like a privilege and an incredible lesson to teach my daughter. It seems like the only way to survive this Thanksgiving. Giving love, support, food, a sincere interest in their stories, and a simple smile is what I look for this year. Expressing my sincere respect and admiration for those who are literally wondering where their families will sleep and eat every day, is my privilege. I will take it very seriously as I know they take their dread very seriously.

People with large families and bank accounts are blessed to share their love in person over the holidays. I am blessed to share mine with those who don’t have.

So, as I carry my spouse in my soul and my daughter in my arms, I will have a day to be thankful for the true meaning of giving and appreciation.

I also am thankful for the project my daughter and I plan on creating in honor of my spouse. We are going to begin a wall of thanks. A literal wall made out of bricks, cemented together with actual cement and love. We decided to write one thing we love, miss, and appreciate in our life, then place it in our back yard and add a brick every time our hearts need to yell, cry, or express love. What a great ritual to help us in our healing path.

After, we will have a tea party with scones. Because that’s apparently what 8-year-olds do on Thanksgiving.

I wish everyone who is suffering a loss, a blessed Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know how ours goes.

Happy Thanksgiving.

About Jean Wolfe Powers, LMFT