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Grief at Thanksgiving | 10 Ways to Honor a Loved One
10 Ways to Honor a Loved One at Thanksgiving
November 22, 2017
The holidays are a special time of year, but experiencing grief during the holidays can make them a very difficult time of year.
Thanksgiving is a time for family to gather with one another and give thanks for all the blessings in their lives. If you are mourning the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be an emotionally difficult time; especially if this is the first year without them. Whether your loved one was a friend, a family member, or a beloved pet, celebrating Thanksgiving may not feel the same without them there. But part of the grieving process is learning to live without them, and celebrating holidays in different ways.
To help get you through this upcoming weekend and make it more meaningful, here are 10 ways to honor your loved one during Thanksgiving.
1. Decorate their Resting Place
Gather your family and take a trip to the deceased’s final resting place. During your visit, everyone can take part in decorating the grave with fall or Thanksgiving items. Dress up their resting place with special fall colored flowers and other mementos like pictures, candles, or letters to your loved one.
2. Serve their Favorite Dish
If there was a particular dish your loved one always looked forward to, make sure to include it with your Thanksgiving meal. If you want to get other family members involved, consider teaching them how to make it.
3. Build a Centerpiece
The centerpiece is an important part of any Thanksgiving meal. When friends and family gather around the table, it is the decoration that is front and center for everyone to see. This year, pay tribute to your loved one and try to incorporate them into it somehow.
4. Set a Place at the Table for Them
This one may be hard for some people and leave others feeling uneasy, but on the other hand some may find it quite nice and comforting. If your family can handle it, set a place at the table for them where they would usually sit. If this makes people too emotional or uncomfortable, you can just leave a chair and not actually setup dinnerware.
5. Attend a Service of Remembrance
Many churches, hospices, and cemeteries hold services of remembrance around the holidays for families to come and pay their respects to their loved ones. These events typically include music, inspirational and religious readings, and other special moments to help grievers honor and remember their departed loved ones.
6. Participate in a Community Fundraising Event
Many different community organizations hold various fundraising events during Thanksgiving weekend like walk/runs, charity dinners, and more. Try to find an event that is raising funds for a certain cause or charity that your loved one supported. Gather your family and participate in one of these events in memory of your loved one.
7. Create a Memory Table
If your friends and family will be gathering at your home for Thanksgiving dinner, set up a memory table that pays tribute to your loved one. Get in touch ahead of time, and encourage your loved ones to bring photographs, small mementos, and personal notes to fill the table and pay tribute to your loved one.
8. Share the Memories You’re Thankful For
Going around the dinner table to hear what everyone is thankful for is something many families do. This year, share a memory about your loved that you’ve always appreciated. Was there something they always did? Or a certain memory you’ll never forget? Share those thoughts with your family and allow everyone to reflect on the impact your loved one had on them.
9. Attend an Event Your Loved One Enjoyed
Whether it’s a football game, parade, or another annual event your loved one enjoyed going to on Thanksgiving; keep the tradition going by attending it yourself in their honor. Gather your friends and family to take in the special event your loved one always looked forward to on Thanksgiving weekend.
10. Make a Donation in their Name
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the biggest shopping days of the year. This year instead of waking up early to head to the nearest shopping center to find a deal, make a donation instead. You don’t need to donate all of the money you would typically spend shopping, but make a contribution to your loved one’s favorite charity in their name and help someone in need.
If you are really struggling with grief, check out the grief section of our website. Also do not hesitate to call us at 301-495-4950 and we can help put you in touch with a local grief counselor.
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