Friday, November 20, 2020


Thanksgiving is upon us… just one week away and most of the country has gone back to lockdown.  Quarantined.  Eight months into the year and COVID-19 still has us out of whack, alone and separated from one another.

This time of the year is already usually hard for so many.  Especially those who are grieving the lost of a loved one, in particular, the anniversary of  a death that happened during this season.  For myself (and my husband) this would be the first year, the first time ever, in the 40 plus years we’ve been together, that we will be spending Thanksgiving alone.

For us, like others I’m sure, this will be a major adjustment, not being able to at the very least spend time with our daughters and our grandson.  And most of all, missing Joseph, yet another holiday, yet another year.  I suppose we should be somewhat used to being alone, after all we’ve been on lockdown for months.  He kept his office closed and I was already home.  So we’ve been here alone together already.  But this time, THIS holiday season, is like no other.

For others, those who’ve lost children,  those who lost loved ones to COVID or anything else, those who are generally alone, and even those who have been struggling to make ends meet, this Thanksgiving certainly presents a whole new and different challenge on so many levels that I could not even and don’t even know where to start to address.  I don’t claim to know everything or even want to know everything.  But I do know that this is an extremely complicated time and season we are in.  Trying to find words to satisfy or comfort someone, even myself is a struggle.

But if I could offer one piece of advice for anyone who might be grieving loss this year, of any kind, financial, job, personal, death, or even activity, I would say as God has been telling me, “Focus on what you have.”

I know this might be hard, for some.  As it was for me.  For a moment.  But as I begin to dwell on those things that I do not have, that I won’t have, that I could have, God simply spoke and said, “But what about the things you have.  Focus on those.”

It might not be much.  You may not be able to visit with people in your life or change  your surroundings, but you can focus on the things that you do have.  The things that you can do.  The people you still have.  Even if it’s only you, I suspect that if you know God, you have at least three more. 

Focus on what you have.  Celebrate and appreciate and give thanks for what you have in your life.  For whom you have in your life. 

When we take the time to appreciate what we have, what we don’t have becomes less important.  It doesn’t mean that a loved one is less important or that their life did not matter, I would never say that.  My Joseph mattered.  All your loved ones matter.  But if we focus on our losses, we will miss the blessing in what we have.  What we have right now. 

When we focus on things we don’t have or don’t like or whatever lack we may be missing… we can cause ourselves to lose hope.  We can become depressed and lonely and sad and dejected and so much more.  But if we focus on what we do have, we’ll see the hope.  We’ll see the promise.  We’ll see the tomorrow.  We’ll see that this too shall pass.

So while I do not have my girls and my grandson, and extended family physically here with me; while I don’t have my Joseph… we will yet have each other.  I’m thankful that we have phones, we can communicate, we can see one another.  We can eat together if we want to.  No, I cannot do that with Joseph, but I can remember him and continue to honor him, by living and appreciating others who are still here.

And right now, in this season, that is reason enough to be thankful.  In spite of my grief.

Once I start there, I can think of plenty of other reasons as well.  I have my life. I have my strength.  I have the ability to move, to speak, to hear.  I have a roof over my head.  I have my health.  I still have my mom.  I have people who love me.  I have my husband.  So we’ll be alone, but at least we’ll be TOGETHER.

In the midst of my grief, in the midst of grieving, for whatever reason it may be, I can and you can get through this season, although it may be difficult, if we focus on what we have.

Focus on what you have.  You will find that you will also have HOPE for tomorrow.

Because God is real, I am thankful, even in the shadow of my grief.

Evelyn Fannell



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