Canadians recently celebrated Thanksgiving while American festivities wait until November’s end. My U.S. friends are often surprised over how early our occasion takes place.
Either way, I find Thanksgiving a real marker in the calendar. From back-to-school to now and then onto Halloween plus the holiday season, time will feel like a blink for so many cultures around the world.
No matter where your family-of-origin is located, don’t you find such festivals rife with the potential for feuds even under the guise of lovingly coming together? How about we look upon the fall harvest meal as “practice” for the even-bigger year-end celebrations to come?
Past Sources of Thankfulness
Despite the paternal alcoholism and maternal mental health issues that marred my growing up, I (ironically) associate Thanksgiving with positive memories. Maybe it’s because I enjoyed Grandma’s visits with us and bounteous food on the table. I completely understand the latter is not everyone’s reality. Still, I offer the gentle challenge to search deep for even one happy (small) memory. My aim is to encourage you to reframe your parental past.
Always remember, I’m the one who accords you FULL permission to speak and feel your truth! As eldercare burdens mount so too do unhealed family dynamics. It would be easy to not find a thing to be grateful for! Even though my impossible folks have since passed away, I can still easily summon my caregiving trials begun in October 2009. Instead, I chose to focus on the brilliant fall foliage even at the height of my despair. What thankfulness can you breathe in?
One insight that came to me vividly while burying first my Mom and then my Dad is that you (obviously) don’t have a second chance to repeat their service. Believe me that much animosity can be released while preparing and delivering their eulogies, which I willingly did for each. Given my checkered mother-history, it wasn’t easy to balance my authenticity with father’s expectations. Yet, I did. I invite you to consider how you want things to “end” with your elders.
Turning the Thankless into the Thankful
Recall that I’m also the one who wrote an article suggesting it was OK to “hate” your parents. Did I say that out loud? Yes! I did so for many out there who feel precisely that way. If you have Un-cope-able Parents, you have every right.
You can then imagine what a stretch it was to shift from bitter resentment to honoring their lives. If I can do it, so can you. Please trust how therapeutic it will be for you to finally get “complete”, especially while they’re alive (which I did with my more heart-based father).
To learn how I let go of my anguish, let’s have a Readiness Session so you can receive support right away. You can book at www.copingwithuncopeableparents.com. If you prefer, you can give me a call at (905) 822-2503 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org