Friends and family are concerned about how the holidays are going to affect me this first Thanksgiving and Christmas after my wife Jean died. Since right after the funeral well-intentioned friends have warned me that the “holidays will be the hardest.” That is not helpful, but again, few are mean-spirited when they say things like that.
Within weeks of Jean’s death, my kids and I moved to change things up from the traditions Jean had led for so many years. My son and I are going to trash all past practice and escape to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. All of my kids are going to come to Arizona for Christmas rather than the usual Minnesota celebration.
I really have no idea if those basic changes will make anything easier but it has to be better than the inevitable tears that would flow from reliving all of Jean’s traditions.
I do believe I have the prayers of Thanksgiving for both events worked out. I am terrifically grateful for the 39 years I had with Jean and exhilarated by what she did for my children. I am going to urge all three of them to be thankful for what we had. I am going to urge them not to get hung up on what’s gone. Jean is most certainly not coming back, but I am convinced if she saw us crying at her two favorite holidays she would slap every one of us up side the head.
My default position these days is that Jean would desperately oppose sorrow and urge us all to move on and to be thankful for new things and new people in our lives.
Is that going to work? I have no clue. I only know the journey has to be walked and I will walk it with all the prayerful optimism I can muster.
McGuire on life, disability and grief will take the next week off. Happy Thanksgiving to all.