If you have lost your loved one before a major holiday like Thanksgiving you are probably wondering how to even celebrate now that they are gone?

Perhaps you might be dreading this holiday? Or, choose to not even celebrate it because your loved one is gone?

Either way, whether you are dreading it or not even celebrating it, I want to share my own experience with my first Thanksgiving without my sister present.

My hope is that you will notice bits and pieces of yourself in my story and can try some of the things I used for you and your family.

I remember…

I remember writing in my journal about our first Thanksgiving without my sister there. I wrote down, “This is weird and sad all at the same time.” 

Actually, it was also the first year that I drew a line in the sand and went over to my Aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. 

To be honest, I didn’t want any more drama or heaviness. So I and my husband decided that we would go over to my Aunt’s house for Thanksgiving and then over to my mother for dessert. 

At first, I was really torn about my decision. I thought to myself and then out loud, “ Can I really do that?” (Go over to somewhere else when all these years it’s always been expected to go over to mom and dad’s for Thanksgiving)

Almost as if it was not even a fleeting thought, “Where are you going for Thanksgiving? Duh, mom and dad’s.”

But that’s what made it so significant and decisive for me that year because I chose to go over to other family members that year. 


So what was the outcome? Did I enjoy it or did I regret it?

Honestly, It was a relief. 

Why? It’s no secret that no family is exempt from “good ole fashion family drama.”  And of course, The holidays can only escalade the drama and conversations to a peak. 

But that is also why Uncle Vinnie always drank around the holidays, right? Just kidding…

I don’t have an Uncle Vinnie but, you get my point. Even if you are not a drinker or have a slightly bad habit, magically. The holidays make us rethink them(bad habits) and we want to all of a sudden start one or pick an old one back up again. 

Enough joking…

All joking aside, I say that going to my Aunt’s was a relief that year because it was nice to simply have peace and quiet

For those of you that don’t know this about me, I come from a very large family. I am the youngest of eight children. And we all have kids!

So you can only visualize Thanksgiving dinner with adults and children running all around as you are gathering together.

Can you picture it in your mind? Good!

It is chaotic and fun, somehow all at the same time. So for me and my husband, it was nice to have a good meal in peace.

Now, why do I keep emphasizing the word, “peace”?

Finding Your Own “peace and calm”…

Because a few months prior to Thanksgiving, I was arguing with my sister’s children about her things. My mother wanted to finally begin going through her things and help relieve some of the burdens from my sister’s children, by going through her things first. However, as you can imagine, her children thought differently. 

I will spare you the listener and myself from going into the weeds about the blowup that happened but believe me it was painful and hurtful. We also discovered that I was pregnant at the same time. My stress levels were off the charts during this time of my life. It is with a heavy heart, that I painfully share that we had suffered a miscarriage and lost the baby. We were absolutely crushed. Heartbroken and devastated. What was already a hard year and season without my sister, this (suffering a miscarriage) was something that took all the energy and zest that I had left and ripped it out of me. So many tears and crying out to God and asking why? There were no answers. Or, at least none that my heart would accept. Hopefully, now you get a glimpse into why I was almost desperate for peace. 

Ultimately, when it came to the chose to either go over to my parent’s home or my aunts home for Thanksgiving, I asked myself and my husband a simple question…“Which one is going to bring me more peace and calm?”

Then it was clear which place we should go. So after a fabulous dinner, (shout out to my aunt who is a terrific cook!) We drove over to my parent’s for dessert. When we arrived, of course, everyone asked why we weren’t there for dinner, but I simply replied, “I didn’t want to come. But here we are. You are welcome. Let’s have dessert!”

Standing firm

At the end of the day, I stood by my decision. I want to extend the same courtesy to you as you approach Thanksgiving.

Decide if you do in fact want to spend it with family or not. And after you choose, It is absolutely key that you stick with it. Being fully honest, it can be easy to be swayed one way or another. But it’s not about other people. This is about YOU, and what you would like.

How would you like to celebrate this Thanksgiving?

Being thankful for your loved one isn’t something that only has to happen once a year. This can become a daily ritual for you and your family. It may even be fun? Finding new and exciting ways to be thankful for your loved one. 

Because I want to circle back to what I said earlier about finding peace and calm as Thanksgiving draws near, I created a quick download for you that you can look at when you are deciding what you would like to do. Email me at hello@scatteringhope.com and use the subject “thankful” and I will send you a cute reminder. 

Love Notes:

  • It’s no secret that no family is exempt from “good ole fashion family drama.” 
  • Or, at least none that my heart would accept.
  • “Which one is going to bring me more peace and calm?”
  • It is absolutely key that you stick with it. 
  • But it’s not about other people. 
  • This is about YOU, and what you would like.

May you also find peace and calm this Thanksgiving.

 If you still are looking for more support, please reach out to me at hello@scatteringhope.com or you can visit my Facebook page and Instagram


Crystal 💜

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