Contentment – how do you achieve it?

We’re entering the holiday season, preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving. Tradition says this is a time to gather with family and friends. You are to reflect upon all that you have experienced through the year and are expected to show contentment with your life.

But what happens when your life is no longer easy; no longer the same as it used to be due to the loss of a loved one? How do you manage the next two weeks of celebrations, memories, and heartache? How do you find contentment in spite of everything that is new and different?

Contentment. Synonyms are serenity, satisfaction, gladness, happiness, gratification, and ease. While it may seem overwhelming to feel these emotions in the midst of your grief, let’s try it. You might easily be able to give thanks for your home, your food, your job, and your health. However, when it comes to being thankful for the people in your life, it may be more difficult to express contentment. Perhaps you are celebrating this holiday without your loved one for the first time. Or maybe this has been your life for the last few years and you are weary trying to find contentment with your situation.

Figuring out how to face the holidays while missing those who are gone can be difficult. It can be hard to find something good to focus on in the midst of your grief that is still fresh and deep. To complicate matters, various family members may tend to handle their grief and loss differently, leading to misunderstandings and hard feelings. Instead of concentrating on what you don’t have, do your best to focus on what you do have. Finding contentment can occur when you are able to do this.

When I first had to deal with my loss, I was numb and only made the effort to move into the holiday season with a smile on my face because of my kids. It was plastered there as I tried to fake it. The first few years after my loss, I was unable to stay in my home and celebrate the holiday due to painful memories. We traveled and went elsewhere for the day itself. But as I continued to look for things for which I could be thankful, I began to realize there really were reasons for contentment. I did have my kids. I had a roof over my head. I had a job. I had people who loved me and cared about me. I decided to handle the situation by making a list of my blessings.

What do you need to do to find contentment this Thanksgiving? Do you need to try a new location away from painful memories? Are there friends you can invite to spend the day with you in order to begin making new traditions and new memories? Perhaps you decide to take a trip somewhere instead of opening up your home. Or maybe you can find a restaurant that offers a meal for so you don’t have the stress of preparing turkey and all the fixin’s yourself this year.

Whatever you decide to do, look for the things that are in your life and contemplate them with contentment. Making specific plans for the holiday can help the day go smoother and be less painful. Be brave, be creative, be gracious, and be willing as you walk your grief journey into this holiday season.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finding Good Grief Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/Finding-Good-Grief-289425764887980/

Loneliness in the holidays

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With this week being Thanksgiving, I thought it would be appropriate to share some tips in dealing with the holidays while walking through grief. Facing every-day life without your loved one is difficult. Facing the holidays without your loved one can seem overwhelming. Loneliness and holidays tend to go hand-in-hand, especially during the early years of loss.

If you are facing your first holiday season on your own, it can help you to remember several things I have found to be true. The first is to know that anticipation is usually worse than realization. Anticipating the holiday may stir up extra feelings of loss, apprehension, and loneliness. You may find yourself dreading the holiday. Fear can be a very real emotion as you wonder how that particular day will feel and what you will do to fill the hours until you can go to bed and wake up in a new day.

Perhaps you have been invited to spend the day with friends. You want to go, but you may be unsure how to excuse yourself in the case that you need some time alone to process your feelings. Remember that your friends care about you and desire the best for you. While they may not completely understand your loss, they want to see you smile and be happy. Do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself and with them. If you feel like crying – then cry. If you feel like laughing – do so with gusto and without guilt. Your loved one would want you to experience joy again. If you find yourself needing time alone – simply state that fact and retreat to a quiet room for a while. Pretending your loneliness does not exist will only keep you from healing.

Loneliness in the holidays is not necessarily a bad thing. It is something you need to experience in order to grow and take a step forward toward healing. Be courageous, take a deep breath, and give yourself grace as you learn to maneuver through Thanksgiving Day. In doing so, you will find yourself better equipped to look toward the other upcoming holidays. Allow yourself to feel and fully experience those emotions that will roll over you this week. As you do, picture your loved one cheering you on and being proud of you for facing what may be a hard day.

Until next time –

Karen

Grief Letters is available for you to purchase. With the holidays just around the corner, this may be just the gift your friends and family need to help them. Having hope and purpose is not impossible when facing loss and pain. This devotion book is filled with lessons learned from my own journey as well as suggested activities written to help achieve forward progress through grief. Place your order today!

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Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.

Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674

Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667

E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650

Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.