Photo: Ennmae's Blog
I can't think about Thanksgiving without thinking about November 18, 2007. My brother/best friend lost his battle with cancer. He was so young and full of life. He was my safe place. When he died he took with him secrets that I am still not willing to tell my therapist. So the thought of celebrating a holiday without him makes the holiday less festive for me. When I recently told a friend about the anniversary of my brother's death, he told me that I would one day get over it. His response proves to me that he has never known love without boundaries. He has never known what it felt like to be completely vulnerable and open around someone without judgment. He has never known someone who knew the truth about who you really are, yet kept that to themselves and loved you anyways. I will not get over it. I don't want to. I'm not alone in this feeling. There are hundreds of thousands of people who deal with grief during the holidays. If you're one of them, you're not alone.
For many of us, the holidays are a reminder of who we have lost over the years. That feeling of grief can bring on depression and anxiety. For me, I don't just grieve the death of my brother. I also grieve over the loss of a relationship I share with my parents. The holidays remind me of the years its been since I've seen them and how divorce can be one hell of a weapon. I don't tell my story to beg for sympathy or want people to feel sorry for me. I share my story because there are so many people who are just like me, who suffer from a different story yet experience my same pain. I don't have the perfect answer for how to get through it. To be honest, there are some years that I don't want to get through it. I just want to sit in it until I am ready to take a leap out.
You are not going to make a choice if you think making a choice is going to send you into anxiety. So if not making a choice keeps you for the moment, sit in it, beloved. I did. It's your choice. I have had doctors and friends tell me that there was a deadline on my suffering. That there was a foolproof solution for my pain. I fired those doctors, got a new one. Fired those friends and got a fish. Just know wherever you are in this season, you are not alone.
There are a few places that provide help if you need someone to talk to. Don't be afraid to seek help if you're in crisis. That one conversation can save your life.
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Helpline (they provide support to individuals who are dealing with grief): 1-800-658-8898
Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 1-800-999-999
IMAlive Online Crisis Network: https://www.imalive.org
You are not alone. If no one else is in this with you, I am. Please know that you are not alone.