Feeling Lost Around Thanksgiving

My husband of 12 years died 10 months ago. I am looking toward Thanksgiving with much trepidation. My husband always baked and carved the turkey, who will do it this year…What have people done to cope with the holidays, any advice?

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  • Heather says:

    Laura, I am so sorry for your loss, I am sure you miss your husband. The holidays are a stressful time. Think about creating new traditions around the holidays and decide what you want the actual Thanksgiving day to look like. Be flexible with yourself on that day in case you want to change your mind. Take care and do something nice for you.

  • Ellen Gerst says:

    Laura, I am very sorry for your loss. Because holidays bring the family into focus they are always tough. I know my first Thanksgiving was only 5 months after my late husband died. A friend of mine made it much easier for me. She took me under her wing and included me into her family celebration. Matter of fact, my sons and I spent the next three holiday seasons very happily with this family until I was ready to spread my wings and start making some new traditions of my own.

    That’s part of what widowhood is all about — learning to branch out on your own; finding your inner strength; finding out that you can do more than you ever thought you could; creating new traditions (not better or worse– just different) and discovering new ideas and ways to approach life.

    Be gentle with yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you have trouble with the day. It’s very normal to be apprehensive about your first Thanksgiving without your husband. Sometimes, though, the anticipation is much worse than the actual day. (Matter of fact, keep that thought in mind as the one year anniversary approaches too).

    If you are not obligated to other family members to make dinner, you might do something nice just for you. (Lounge around, pamper yourself.)

    The bottom line is that you can make this day into anything that you want. If you don’t feel up to making a turkey because your husband always did, there are plenty of places that offer a ready cooked meal (that still tastes home cooked). You could even have a non traditional Thanksgiving meal!

    We put a lot of pressure on ourselves by thinking that we have to do something the way “we always did it” or it won’t be right. That’s just not true. Part of your readjustment is to do what fits into your new life as a single person. So release that pressure and do what feels right for you. Listen to your intuition, which never lies to you, and it will let you know what you need to do for yourself on this day.

    Hope these thoughts help!

  • Laura, I am so sorry for your loss. The holiday season still fills my heart with trepidation and this will be our sixth Thanksgiving without him. I was also blessed with other places to go for Thanksgiving. My husband and I were married on a Thanksgiving weekend so many times we spent the holiday away by ourselves under the guise of an anniversary celebration. It was very hard for me to face the first one alone. I did start a new tradition with my boys on our second year of holidays. On Thanksgiving I take the boys to a movie. They love it! I love it because it’s quiet and low maintenance. I find myself more upset prior to the actual holiday and then when it comes it goes ok. Be gentle with yourself, do as your heart leads you. Everyone is different and we each search through the dark for our way back into the light.
    your sister on the widow journey – Chris

  • Laura says:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I am glad to know there are people who know how I feel!

  • Lauren Muscarella says:

    I haven’t had the same experience, but I have observed my father cope with the loss of his wife, my amazing mom. Speaking from the perspective of a child, don’t be afraid to lean on the people who love you most. For a few years, we tried to ignore the obvious elephant in the room, now instead we take a deep breath, relax and tell funny stories about my mom. Everyone is different with how they spend their holidays, but like many of the other comments said don’t put too much pressure on yourself. With love ~ Lauren

  • kathleen says:

    Hi Laura, my partner of 28 years passed away on 4th July 2010, l dont know how l will cope over the holiday, l will just take a little at a time, hopefully we will get through it, will think of you and others who are feeling like us. Take care Kathleen

  • Tambre Leighn says:

    What great responses by so many who have shared the experience of the impact of holidays when you’ve gone through a loss. Even though my husband passed nine years ago, I am still very careful to design holidays to make sure I have the support I need. I am a grief recovery coach (as a result of my experience losing Gary to cancer and out of a desire to help others navigate the rocky road of grieving) and a contributing writer here on Open To Hope. My article posted here December 5th may have some helpful insights to work through the challenges of the holiday season. https://www.opentohope.com/2010/12/05/widow-copes-with-holidays-by-serving-herself-others/
    Wishing peace to all,