NOVEMBER 23, 2006 – THANKSGIVING REFLECTIONS:? JOY JOHNSON has written or edited more than 150 books on grief.? She is co-founder, along with her husband, Dr. Marvin Johnson, of Centering Corporation and Ted E. Bear Hollow, a center for grieving children. Centering Corporation, has received the TCF Professional award, and is North America?s oldest and largest bereavement resource center.? Centering is also the official bookstore for The Compassionate Friends.? Her compassion and understanding have touched many lives. Join us for a discussion of traditions, memories, and challenges of Thanksgiving Day without that special person.? and

Joy Johnson:? She said, ?I won?t say grace because we don?t have anything to be thankful for.?? And Darcie tells how she began to argue with her [5-year-old] and it was one of those arguments that every mother knows, and every mother knows she?s not going to win this one.? And finally Allie said, ?I?ll say Thanksgiving at desert.?? And Darcie said, ?That?s good.? We?re having pumpkin pie.? It?ll be worth being thankful for.?? So the time came and she had them hold hands because ?The Waltons? was a TV show then.? So they all held hands and Allie bowed her little head and said, ?Thank you for the little while.?? And I think for all of us, all the parents whose child to say ?to be thankful for the little while? is so important and to remember, as you had said, to remember the good times and then to be brave enough and courageous enough to do what you really need to do on that day.

Joy Johnson:? When you were talking about what people had done ? to eat a lot, drink a lot, watch football ? I thought, well, that?s a pretty typical Thanksgiving Day.? You watch the parade.? But it is.? It is so tough and I think there are things we can all do to make it a little less tough.? One of the tough things, I think for a lot of us, is that life just goes on.? That it happens.

Joy Johnson:? It?s tough and anger just flares sometimes.? In fact, with children who have been murdered, it can become rage, and I think there?s got to be several good outlets for that.? Anger a lot of times occurs ? our stereotype is more of guys than of gals, more dads than of moms, but it goes across the board and it?s a normal, as you know, normal accepted part of grief.? It?s what we do with it that is so important.? We have a book coming out for dads and we haven?t got a title for it yet.? Rob Anderson is writing it.? His son was murdered and then set on fire.? He talks some about taking care of your anger and having a time when you can just yell.? Just yell and hit something with your fist that is not gonna hurt someone else.

Joy Johnson:? We just last week had a day-long camp called ?Tinsel and Tears and Holiday Hope? and there are four tasks of grieving children and one is to recognize the reality of the death which is hard for all of us sometimes, to grieve the death, to commemorate the person who died, and then to move on to new relationships, including a relationship with the person who died because we?ve been talking about Scott and you still have a relationship with him.?

Joy Johnson:? Sometimes for me when I look at a holiday, an anniversary, a birthday coming up that I anticipate it being so bad that when it actually comes, it?s not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be.? That one day, as one mother said, this is it? because she?d expected the world to stop.

Joy Johnson:? It?s a little late for this now, but you?re right.? You can still do something.? Anger I think needs a physical outlet and if you don?t, one man said, take your anger for a walk.? It?ll bubble out.? Talk into a tape recorder if you want.? As long as you don?t hurt someone else or yourself.? Anger can be really healthy.? It motivates us.? It gets us moving.

Joy Johnson:? So if I remind myself that Thanksgiving, the holidays, grief itself can be like Darth Vader, pants are falling off, they can?t really see, then you can have the courage to move on and do what you need to do.


Joy Johnson Brown

In 1978, Joy Johnson and Dr. Marvin Johnson founded Centering Corporation. The Centering Corporation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education on grief and loss for professionals and the families they serve. Centering Corporation has done remarkably well in the industry, with now a compilation of over 500 resources for grief and loss including the magazine Grief Digest. They continue to provide educational offerings, bookstores, and workshops for caregivers and families, with a heritage of becoming the largest provider of resources for Grief and Loss in the nation. Joy received the Professional Service Award from the Compassionate Friends in 2004 and has written or edited 150 books on grief. She has co-presented more than 500 workshops at seminars and conferences. Joy is the author of "Keys to Helping Children Deal With Death and Grief," published by Barrons in New York, and The Very Beautiful Dragon series, published by Centering Corporation. The Johnsons live in Omaha, Nebraska, and have six children and seven grandchildren. Joy appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” with Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley to discuss “Thanksgiving Reflections.”

More Articles Written by Joy Johnson