Monday, November 24, 2014

Holiday Care.

Its that time of year again - I can hardly believe it! Its not that the holidays sneak up on me - all you have to do is watch television to know they're here - but I guess I forget everything that's involved with them. All the stuff one has to think about and plan and worry about. This year, as in past years, I'm going to urge caregivers and the newly bereaved NOT to think about, plan, and worry about the holidays. Or at least TRY not to.

Last week was the final session of the Grief group I was co-facilitating with my friend Ross, who is an amazing counselor and friend. So many of the participants were fairly new to their loss and hadn't experienced a major holiday without them, so I took the fortuitous timing and made sure we talked about the week to come - this week. I told them how difficult holidays can be without loved ones and I urged them to really give it some thought, and be mindful about how they celebrated this year.

First of all, I support not celebrating at all! If you're not up to it, don't try to maintain the old traditions and things your family always did. Give it a year before you decide what traditions you want to keep or get rid of, and spend this year resting and taking it easy and not doing much. Go to a movie with a friend, or have a quiet dinner with close family, or go out of town. Several of the recently bereaved people I know are leaving on a jet plane for warmer climes.

If you absolutely want to celebrate in the ways you always have, get other people to help you...a lot! Go potluck or order dinner from one of the fine, natural grocery stores in the area. (PCC does a great Thanksgiving!) Wherever you are in the country, I'm sure you have a restaurant or grocery store that does a ready-made dinner. Have everyone bring a dish, while you supply the decorated table - something like that. Above all, take it easy, be good to yourselves.

I'm going to go visit Dad on Wednesday afternoon; check in with him, read a few pages, rub lotion into his hands, maybe. But I won't see him on Thanksgiving day. I know they always serve a great dinner at the Adult Family Home, so I'm not worried that Dad won't have the good seasonal food. I'll spend the day with my husband, relaxing and eating the chicken (we hate turkey), stuffing and everything else.

I'll serve the food in my mother's lovely serving dishes and think back to all the Thanksgiving dinners we shared around the table at our old house: lace tablecloth on the table; Grandma's white and blue china; the cut glass pineapple bowls for pickles and cranberry sauce; all of the good food, including green bean casserole, which I never learned to like. ( I did grow to like gravy, though). I'll think about my parents and my grandparents playing cutthroat pinochle after dinner while my sister and I read. And I'll give thanks for everything wonderful I have now.


  1. how fortunate he is being cared for! what a mountain to climb to get there ...
    some day....

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