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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WHEN THANKSGIVING IS A MOCKERY

 
To many Thanksgiving is a mockery.

To be told that much remains in your life when all you can see is it in ruins is worse than a mockery.

Though the struggle with grief at Thanksgiving is a private one, it is hardly a solitary event.  Millions are even tonight trying to find the will to face tomorrow, not knowing how they will do it.

Soon or late grief hits all of us in the solar plexus.  We gasp; we stagger; and we reel.

Across the nation today, millions will look hollow-eyed in the mirror.

For whatever reason, you are bleeding from a deep wound.  It will not go away quickly.  No amount of forced cheer will lessen it.

Sometimes talking to a lost loved one will help you feel connected to them if only in distant, ethereal way.  But the connection can help you move among others in an easier fashion.

Sometimes you wonder how a human mind and heart can take such a blow and go on.  It seems unfair somehow that the sun will rise and your beloved will not, that laughter will echo through homes while yours is hollow and empty.

There are others, lost souls, life having somehow gotten away from them.  They sit in a homeless shelter, waiting in line for food from strangers.

Be one of those strangers handing out food but with the added mission of not staying a stranger.  Make eye contact with those in pain, lost by the wayside.

Nursing homes are filled with warehoused elderly with no one.  Visit a nearby nursing home.  Ask for a person with no one to visit them.  And visit with what you would want in their place: smiles, support, and the continued visits during the holiday season.

But you cannot rush healing.  If you cannot see yourself among others this Thanksgiving: give yourself permission to bleed.  Healing takes time.  But the heart does heal: slowly like the minute hand of a clock -- but the heart heals.

Much talk is bandied about concerning crutches -- but if your leg is broken, you use a crutch.  Yet, you shed it when you can for a cane so that your leg grows stronger.

We who grieve are exiled in our society.
 
Exiled by the turning away of a face so they don’t have to witness our agony.
 
Exiled by the silence left as friends and family drift away.
 
Exiled by the lack of recognition of this universal experience.
 
Remember this time -- and when your heart has healed enough, be strong enough NOT to exile those who will enter your life in a similar grief.
 

The most insidious side of the language of grief is the lack of words that give weight to the experience. Those who choose to give us condolences seldom stop to recognize the power of the awakening we are forced into.

 
Instead they pity us, safely distanced from the heat of our experience. Unfortunately, few are willing to walk into the darkness before it’s their time. If we try to tell others what it’s like, we’re stuck with words that don't even come close.

 

Again, remember this feeling.  And when you come across it in the anguished eyes of another, be aware that an answer is not wanted -- just someone that gives a damn.

 

Don't ask them "How are you?"  You know how you hate that question.  Instead, simply say, "It's hard, damn hard.  It's dark now.  The light does return ... not the same but you see things in a different, wiser light."

 

The laughter of others sting when you hear it.  But Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. 

 

You hear grief is a storm.  No.  It is the winter of the soul.  But spring does come.  It really does.

 

Look around you. Every face is a mask hiding loss, hiding grief.  Look for ways to help others.  In that helping, your mind will be taken from your own pain.

 

 1.) Volunteer

 

 Perhaps your local animal shelter needs help taking dogs out for walks or a senior's residence would like visitors for their guests who are also alone at Thanksgiving.

 
Volunteering is a great way to be thankful for what you have and realize that your situation could be worse.

 

2.) Get in Touch With Others Who Are Alone

 

 Thanksgiving does not have to be spent with family. If you know of coworkers or acquaintances who are spending the holiday alone, why not ask if they would like to spend it together?

 
3.) Get Outdoors

 

Just having a plan to spend some time outdoors can brighten your mood and make you feel less lonely.  You might even cross paths with other nature lovers who are alone on Thanksgiving.



4.) People Watch
 
 
If you can't be in the company of others, you can at least get out and be amongst people. Although most businesses will be closed on Thanksgiving day, you are likely to find restaurants and coffee shops that are open.
 
Choose a spot where you can sit and watch people come and go. If you feel self-conscious sitting alone, bring along a newspaper to read or a laptop to check emails or surf the Internet.
 
 
5.) Remember You Are Not Alone
 
 
Thanksgiving and Christmas witness a peculiar self-selection effect:
 
anyone who has anywhere to go is out and extremely visible, while folks who have nowhere to go tend to huddle inside their houses and apartments.
 
So while it may seem as if everyone is enjoying Thanksgiving with friends and family, there are actually a large number of (very normal) people spending the day alone, just like you.

Take in a movie that will draw you out of yourself -- whatever kind that may be for you. 

I will be out on the roads, working for my friends who have family.  May your Thanksgiving be better than you could imagine.  :-)

11 comments:

Glan Deas said...

I love noble!!! Reading is my hobby. I like your book. All are interesting.

Regards,
Kopi Luwak

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Thanks, Glan:
You made my Thanksgiving with your comment. :-)

Sally said...

Your words are so poignant, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK but I can relate it to Christmas which follows soon after and how hard that first anniversary is when you miss somebody so badly. Please don't work too hard but I admire you working and covering so that others can enjoy this family time.

Vesper said...

My heart is with you, Roland. xo

Vesper said...

My heart is with you, Roland. xo

J.B. Chicoine said...

This is a post I want to bookmark and read again--it can't be absorbed in one reading. I wish I could find the right word to express what it evokes ... I'll leave it at that ...

D.G. Hudson said...

Your post asks us to remember what it is like to feel lost or disregarded, and how we can reach out.

I see it at the care home my MIL is in. Many look to us when we visit her, to see if it's their own relatives and look sadly away when they see we are not. We talk to some of them but others are bitter that their relatives have abandoned them. During our visits I have had one senior verbally get abusive as she thought I was someone else talking to my MIL, and one lady came over and start hitting at me as once again dementia made her see things differently.

Staff always come to my aid, and I don't get alarmed. I think how it must feel to be 'them'. They are not strong enough for the most part to hurt anyone else, they are acting out their own hurt inside, trying to understand.

'Tis a good thing you do, Roland!

Wendy said...

I think this is one of your greatest posts, Roland. And that's saying something ...

Beautiful, touching, human, and heartfelt.

What ever you do on Thanksgiving, may you be happy, and most importantly, safe on the roads.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Sally:
May your holiday season in England be more lovely than you hope. Thanks for the kind words.

Vesper:
Your caring makes the day better for me. Thanks!

J.B.:
You make me feel as if I reached an understanding heart. Thanks. May your Thanksgiving be fun and healing. :-)

D.G.:
I will pray for your MIL and your husband. It must be hard for him. It was hard for me while my mother lay in the hospital dying of cancer.

Have a holiday season more healing than you think possible.

Wendy:
It's the other distracted and uncaring drivers that make my blood runs dangerous -- that plus blinding rain in the night!

I am so pleased you liked my post. I had hoped it would touch hearts that needed to read those words. :-) Thanks for talking of it on Twitter.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

We have had experience with the impossible holidays after a terrible loss. Even years later, there is always an empty spot. Deep words.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Susan:
I wanted to write something helpful and perhaps healing for those with an emptiness inside on this holiday. May this holiday season bring unexpected blessings your way. :-)