The holidays are a time when many people find themselves especially sad. We may be increasingly aware of the person or people or children that are not present with us “at the table.” It’s hard for some to find reasons to be thankful.

My heart is with anyone feeling this way, because I have been there.

Encouragement for the grieving

Two years ago on Thanksgiving Day, I lay in a hospital bed, strapped down on 24/7 fetal monitoring. I was 28 weeks pregnant with identical twin girls, and I had been in the hospital for over two weeks. As the rest of the country celebrated what had always been my favorite holiday, I sat alone in misery.

The nurses tried to make it a nice day. We received a special Thanksgiving lunch. I tried hard not to feel sorry for myself as I waited for my family to come visit and bring some leftovers. Of course, when they arrived, the bitterness of the situation had already overcome any kind of gratefulness I may have had that day.

I knew I had plenty to be thankful for. My husband and two young children were being taken care of by my family and friends while I was hospitalized. I was still pregnant, and each day I remained on bedrest was another day closer to viability for my growth restricted twin.

But underneath it all was the anger at the fact that no matter how long I stayed in this bed, (and missed out on the activities of my 23 month old and my four year old,) the outcome of this pregnancy was unlikely to be good. We had already been told that there was almost a zero percent chance of survival for Kathryn. And Charis was still in peril. All I could do was wait.

Alone. On Thanksgiving. While everyone else enjoyed their home cooked meal and laughed and was merry.

The holidays are not so happy for everyone. I was not the only person suffering that year. The week prior I cried for a mother whose twelve year old son had been hit while walking home from school and passed away two days later. There were other mothers who went into labor far too soon, and went home with empty arms. There were parents and siblings and aunts and uncles who passed away or were very ill during this time frame. Many people were hurting and finding it difficult to be thankful.

Today, while reading Kristi’s beautiful post on the Naomi’s Circle blog, entitled When it’s hard to give thanks… I was reminded that there are many who may find it difficult this Thanksgiving to have a thankful heart. Much like it was for me two years ago. And the following year as well. Although I was so thankful last year that Charis did in fact survive and was healthy, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving without our other twin.

This year, the worst of it has passed. Although I will always be mindful of the fact that my daughter is not with us, I know that with time, it does get easier.

Perhaps you are missing a baby or child that should have been there with you this day.   No matter who you might be grieving for this year, it is okay to have your time, step back and lean on others. Know that you are not alone.

I hope that you’ll head over and read Kristi’s inspiring post for those that are disheartened this year.

And for those of you who have already weathered the storm and are in a better place, let’s not forget those for whom this holiday season may be especially trying.

1 Thessalonians 5:14: “And we urge you, brothers and sisters…encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”  This Thanksgiving, that may describe you.  Disheartened.  Weak.  In need of patience from others…and yourself. ~Kristi Bother, Naomi’s Circle