Thinking about a subject for the November article, the clear topic that comes to mind is the many things that I am thankful for. On my list are the obvious things - my family, friends, faith, job, and the list could go on and on consuming this entire article if I let it. However, this month, as I think about my article, I think about the exciting time that I just experienced with my grandmother. Last week, my 77-year-old grandmother and I went to Orlando, Florida ... just the two of us. In three very busy days, we went to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Sea World. It was a whirlwind!
Returning from this experience, I realize how thankful I am for the many memories from this trip that I will carry with me forever. I cherished them in the moment and now I will continue to be grateful for them. While these experiences now shift into the memory category of my life, I know that this time spent with my grandmother was priceless. Being in the field of bereavement, I know the importance of holding on to the times that I have with my loved ones. However, it is not always easy for me to slow down and take the time that I should to appreciate everything in the moment to the fullest. This vacation with my grandmother allowed me the space that I needed to slow down from the busy life I live and really be present with one of my favorite women that I look up to, admire and love. Someday, I will look back on this trip with a smile and most likely tears as I remember the amazing time that we shared together.
Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a challenge after the death of your loved one. As you sit and think about being thankful, it can sometimes be difficult to be thankful as the grief of your loss weighs heavy on your heart. This November, I challenge you to look at your life and to be thankful for the moments, the memories and the times that you shared with your loved one. Those experiences are now the moments that you get to hold on to in your heart today and always. Do not be afraid to talk about, laugh over, and smile as you share these memories over and over again. The special moments that you once shared with your loved one are a gift that you continually get to walk around with. What a blessing it is to have a heart that is able to hang on to the precious memories that you shared.
There is no doubt that this thankful time of year can bring many different emotions. One of the main things that you used to be thankful for is no longer physically with you today. Again, I challenge you to look at this time of the year in a different way. Think about the word thankful and instead of becoming overwhelmed with the things that you are missing, be thankful for the many moments and memories you were blessed to share with your loved one. Hold them in your heart today and forever.
As I close this article for the month of November, take some time to reflect on these words from Disney’s Winnie the Pooh; “If there ever comes a day where we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I will stay there forever.” The heart is where we hold our most treasured memories. I can’t think of a more perfect place to hold, protect, and cherish these times. Be thankful – today, tomorrow and forever.