I saw this Instagram post on Thanksgiving and it hit me hard, especially the caption, which I will just copy below:

Thanksgiving can be the hardest holiday of the bunch. It’s centered on community and gratitude and all of it seems to highlight the empty place at the table.

[…] Gratitude gets presented to grieving folks as a cure for their ills: “At least you had them for as long as you did. Be thankful for the memories.” Parents grieving the death of a child are often told to be thankful for their remaining children. None of this is helpful. Gratitude and grief don’t cancel each other out, they sit side by side.⁣

There are ways to celebrate and acknowledge the holiday that don’t unintentionally make things worse. It’s far more helpful to find gratitude for things that help us survive, that give us even a bit of comfort.⁣

There are so many things in this life to be thankful for. For example, “I am so glad for the Off button on my phone. Thank you, technology, for creating this bubble of peace and silence around me.” Or, “I’m thankful for the birds outside my window, for bringing me company and beauty today.”⁣

Finding things that companion you, exactly where you are, can be a great way to practice the theme of Thanksgiving.⁣

Always remember that you can choose to ignore any holiday, no matter what anyone else says.⁣


Yes to all of this. I love it when someone (a writer, a therapist, a friend, an Instagram account about grief) can help you put words around what you’re feeling.