The holidays, especially family-focused celebrations like Thanksgiving, are some of the toughest times of the year if you’re grieving the death of a loved one. Meaningful traditions coupled with time spent with family and friends can bring back memories of that special person who’s no longer with you.
At Bayliff & Son Funeral Home, we have seen how families benefit by creating new traditions to honor their loved ones. Acknowledging grief and paying tribute to the person who has died is a way to express and release emotions connected to their death. Oftentimes, this helps those grieving be more present with friends and family during their time together.
This Thanksgiving, consider taking the time to celebrate and honor your loved one by doing the following.
Make their favorite meal.
If your loved one enjoyed making pies, place a fresh-baked pumpkin or apple pie at the center of your dessert table. Maybe they liked to add a special herb or signature spice to their stuffing. Do your best to recreate the dish and share it with your Thanksgiving guests. Create recipe cards so those who are gathered can prepare the dish on their own.
Write up a gratitude list to share over dinner.
This is a great opportunity to involve your guests in a simple activity. Pass around paper and pencils then ask each person to write specific things they appreciated about your loved one who died. At the end of the evening, take a few minutes to share some of these things out loud with the group.
Set a place for your loved one at the table.
Whether this is your first Thanksgiving without your loved one or you have grown accustomed to the empty chair at the table, setting a place for them is a special nod to how much they meant to you. This acknowledgement is a practical way to help ease grief while bringing to mind special stories and memories.
Display photos and swap stories with your guests.
Put your favorite photos of your loved one on display throughout your home on Thanksgiving Day. Share what you love most about each photo and encourage your guests to tell you their favorite memories as well.
Do something your loved one enjoyed.
If they loved football, watch the big game after dinner with your guests. Perhaps you and your loved one used to take a walk outside after the Thanksgiving meal. Whatever it is they enjoyed, try to find time to do this activity on Thanksgiving Day. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, you may feel more at peace about your loved one not being there to celebrate with you.
Create a holiday playlist featuring some of their favorite songs.
Assemble your loved one’s favorite songs on a playlist to queue up while your Thanksgiving guests arrive or to set on a low volume during dessert.
This year, our staff at Bayliff wishes all of our neighbors a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by friends and family.