Turkey and Grief

I wish I didn’t know about grief. I wish that I was clueless as to how the G word alters your life permanently. But alas, I do know and I’ve learned a lot over the past three years and ten months since I lost my dad suddenly to a heart attack.

There are good days, bad days, and straight up terrible days. The terrible days don’t sneak up on me like they used to. I am more in tune with how I handle these difficult times. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I eat or drink something that makes me think of my dad. Sometimes I just say “Screw it” and do my best to move onto a better moment.

But the holidays are whole different ballgame friends…especially Thanksgiving. The fourth Thursday in November was the one holiday my family spent at home. We had amazing food and many different guests. Some of those Thanksgivings were super special like the times my family took a long hike behind our house to ward off the turkey coma that would happen anyway or when my dad and I would deliver meals to hollers that I didn’t even know existed a few miles from our house. And some were very hard like the one two days after my Papaw Herman died.

The very worst for me was Thanksgiving of 2012. I simply couldn’t do it. Any of it. I skipped Thanksgiving. I was selfish and mad and didn’t care. And I knew I could only get away with that behavior one time because my kids didn’t deserve a mom who couldn’t climb out of her grief hole.

I’m sharing this to say, because I know someone out there is trying to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other, that it’s okay.  You don’t have to pretend that you are happy. You are allowed to be angry and do whatever it takes (as long as you aren’t harming yourself or anyone else) to get through the holiday season. Maybe you usually cook a huge meal but you know doing that will send in a downward spiral. Don’t cook this year. Order in, go out, or ask a friend for help. Start a new tradition. Talk about your loved ones who are no longer here. Please, please, please love on the ones who ARE here.

I don’t want to have grief with my turkey but it’s part of my “new” tradition. I have to embrace it or I will hurt too much to function and my dad would never want that to happen. I’m sure the person or persons you are missing this holiday season don’t want that pain for you either.


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