Missing Mom At Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It was my mom’s too. My mother was a wonderful cook. Her turkey stuffing was simple but memorable. In fact, my brother used to tease that he was going to make a stuffing sandwich with the leftover the next day. I think he really did. It tasted even better on day two.

My mom died the day before Thanksgiving in 1979. Every year since that time, Thanksgiving has been bitter sweet for me. It is still my favorite holiday because of the family togetherness and wonderful feast, however it also reminds me of my mom’s death too. One of the wonderful things that commemorate my mother’s life is that making her special stuffing has become a family tradition.

No matter how fancy the food, her simple recipe is reproduced and eaten with gusto. Over the years, my son has taken on the job of creating this dish and does it with love as he remembers his grandmother too. Of course, my mother has been gone a very long time, and I no longer grieve, but it is comforting for me to think of her as we are gathered together. Her spirit is always in my heart and I recall how she bustled around making sure that everyone was stuffed and happy.

Whenever I feel sad, I try to practice the advice of a wonderful teacher and author, Ken Keyes, who said, “To be upset over what I don’t have is to waste what I do have.” Ken was the personification of that thought. He was a quadriplegic who could only move one finger. Yet he radiated love and light and inspired thousands of people.

When I feel carried away by my negative feelings such as loneliness, grief or hurt, I talk to myself out loud and make a list of what is in my life right now that cheers me up. I usually start with the basics, with being grateful that I have a bed to sleep in, a roof over my head and money in my wallet. I keep listing until I realize that I also have people who love me and appreciate me and I still have loving memories of the ones who are no longer with me.

Perhaps, like me, you have lost someone who was also a great cook. You might honor her by making her special dish and sharing it with friends and relatives. With each bite you can remember and thank that loved one. If you are still grieving, make your own list of what you can be thankful  for at this time of year and see if your mood shifts to see the brighter side of life.

Gloria Arenson

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Bio for Gloria Arenson, MFT, DCEP Gloria Arenson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Diplomate in Comprehensive Energy Psychology. She is passionate about helping people help themselves be free of negative emotions and compulsive behaviors such as overeating, spending, internet addiction and procrastination using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). Her unique visualization method called The Phoenix Effect Process repairs difficult relationships effortlessly. Gloria is the author of Desserts Is Stressed Spelled Backwards, How to Stop Playing the Weighting Game, Born to Spend, Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing, Freedom At Your Fingertips, and EFT For Procrastination. She is past president of ACEP, the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology and is in private practice in Southern California. Reach her at [email protected] Listen to Gloria on Open to Hope Radio


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  • Gloria horsley says:

    Well, Gloria (and I like that name) my mother was not a great cook we had Mrs. Smiths frozen pies for dinner and packaged rolls however she was a bundle of fun and didn’t mind if we went the annual University of Utah football game with dad. I miss them lots and am thankful that they were part of my life.

  • Mohamed says:

    My mom’s cooking was the best. So sad I will never again eat my favorite dishes.

  • Susan says:

    My Mum died suddenly a year ago. She left behind some jars of jam she had made from our garden fruit trees, plums, and blackcurrent. I love that jam, but I do not want to eat it because it is some of her kindness that i can still hold and that she left behind.

  • Rene Gomez says:

    My mom died last week. She always enjoyed Thanksgiving. She loved eating turkey. Now I will never experience her joy again. Her loss is very difficult.

  • nancy rappaport says:

    I found that love lasts longer than death and that I can feel the strength of my mother more particularly after I had interviewed a lot of her friends. One of the parts that they shared with me was how she loved to have a roasted pig for a party and raspberriesin a champagne glass. When I went to her grave for the first time as an adult(she died when I was four) we came home and had raspberries in a champagne glass.
    Nice post. Nancy Rappaport (www.inherwake.com)