The Instagram posts started early this month. Some told us of something they were thankful for every day of this month, some waited until this week, and some waited until today and captured their spouse, child, dog, promotion letter, and brand-new couch all in one artistic picture to share all that they are thankful for at once. Kudos to those people.
November, and Thanksgiving is important. It is a day to slow down, dig through all the hardships that you face every day, and instead switch your mindset to thankfulness. For many, this practice would never occur without this set day.
However, many enter this day lacking what they were thankful for last year.
This is what the photos and the long posts don’t capture, and this is what many feel they can’t say or even recognize because it is never captured. For many, this is the painful reality behind the perfect picture, but society doesn’t let us share that.
For me, personally, entering this season, I no longer have a clear bill of health for my husband. I no longer share this world with my always selfless grandmother. And I no longer share the table with the goofy statements of my grandfather. These are all things that I was thankful for last year, but I find myself grieving this year.
And others are entering this season with burdens just as heavy, if not heavier, and while it is so sweet to see the pictures, and the smiles, and people taking time out of their day to share what made their day so special, it is important to recognize the burdens this season, and to know that it’s okay that you’re carrying them. It is perfectly okay to pair your Thanksgiving with feelings other than thankfulness this holiday season. It is okay to grieve, to feel angry, to have questions, and to feel frustration when these questions are not answered. It is okay if your season of thankfulness doesn’t align perfectly with the holidays designed to celebrate it.
I have had plenty of seasons of thanksgiving even this year, and it is perfectly okay that they happened in March, April, and August more than they seem to be in November. I recognized them then, and I recognize them now, and that is what matters.
Thanksgiving is a date on a calendar, and holiday loved by many, yours truly included, but it is not a law. It is not a day that demands only joy from you. It is not a day that pain is banned from. It is not a day where tears refuse to be shed.
It is a day to remember those who are absent this year and to miss them.
It is a day to reflect on the other seasons that were kind to you, even if you carry burdens today.
It is a day to hold loves ones close, eat multiple pieces of pie, and not feel okay if that is where your life is.
It is a day to live in reality, no matter what that looks like for you.
I came into this blog expecting to pour out my many blessings and trust me, there are so many. But I’m living this season of Thanksgiving with a heavy heart, and with many heavy burdens, all wearing different colors of grief, and while I have seen post after post telling me to be thankful, no one has told me that it is okay to be hurting, and that is what I think my voice needed to share today.
So let me be that voice for you. After days of soul searching, I am here to tell you that it is okay to be living today with a heavy heart. It is okay to be missing the things you once sat around the table and declared you were thankful for. It’s okay to recognize that your season of thanksgiving might not be today or this November. Grief seasons, life seasons, they don’t always follow the same timeline as holiday seasons.
And that is okay.
It is okay to cry over your turkey.
It is okay to miss Grandma’s pie or Poppy’s jokes.
It’s okay to miss the path you were on last year that has since been derailed.
Thankfulness can exist inside of grief, and your grief can always have a place at the table, yes, even on Thanksgiving.