Monday, November 25, 2013

Grieving at the Holidays

My first response to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday was to start thinking about what to cook. I love to create expansive holiday meals for my family and look forward to menu planning, decorating the table, choosing flowers and using family heirloom china that has memories attached to each serving platter, plate and cup.

Then, my thought turned to the realization that this would be the first Thanksgiving without my mother, who died four months earlier. This year, there would be no negotiating about whom to visit on what day for this family divided by a thirty-year-old divorce, with parents and siblings who don't get together at the same time. No discussion about what time to serve dinner to accommodate everyone's schedule. No admonishment to "not overdo it this year - cut back on what you are serving" meant to spare me from time and calories, not realizing how I loved this work and opportunity to create memories with my family.

And then, I realized my own self-care solution this year would be to get out of town. For this first post-Mom Thanksgiving, my husband, son and I will spend four days together in another city, focused on each other, grieving this loss in a different setting. For me, it will be important to remember all of the other Thanksgivings spent with my original and married families, and how important it will be to create a new normal.

I will certainly grieve and miss her presence this year. Yet, at the same time, I will also celebrate the 48 other Thanksgivings I had with her, and hope that I can now reinforce how important holiday traditions are with my own son, and create new memories for years to come.

This blog entry was written by Gloria D. Brooks, Arbor Hospice President & CEO. You may contact Gloria by commenting below or emailing her at


  1. Gloria, Thank you for sharing both your grief and your hope. May you feel your mom's eternal loving presence in a new, but different way this Thanksgiving. Blessings on you and your family.

  2. Thank you for your blessings!
    ~Gloria D. Brooks