Thanksgiving is hard for some

This is Thanks?giv?ing week. Cele?brat?ing this holiday is definitely an Ameri?can tradition. When our children were young, an addition to this tradition consisted of watching the Charlie Brown video, ?It?s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.?

I especially liked the recitation of the story of the first feast of Thanksgiving, of Stanley Miles, aka leader of the Pilgrim colony, Miles Standish, welcoming Native American Indians to share in the food and festivities.

Most days, I eagerly anticipate the arrival of the holiday. Children and grandchildren are a gift that gives us a charge of energy and desire to be a part of their lives. When we are apart for a time, we eagerly anticipate their arrival, sharing experiences, connecting, playing and simply enjoying their presence.

Above all, grandchildren are innocence, joy and love all wrapped up in a bundle that invigorates the spirit of thanksgiving within. We rejoice and are comforted in their presence, as they are a blessing to everyone they meet.

Then, there are days I am apprehensive of the upcoming season, not that the holiday is a bad thing, but earlier events threatens to steal the joy like a thief. There are families that will struggle through the day, as this will be yet another one of those ?special days? without their loved one.

How can I celebrate or be thankful when someone is grieving over the loss of a son, daughter, spouse, parent or friend?

Recently, this is especially relevant for our friends, David and Lisa Schemm, with the loss of their youngest son, Luke, during a football game.

One perspective suggests the spirit of thanksgiving transcends and encompasses every aspect of life. Yet, it is difficult coming to terms with it, when faced with the stark reality and permanence of death, not only with the loss of a precious child, but the loss that encompasses everything that was to come afterwards, of celebrations, marriages, of births of grand-children and future generations that will never exist.

Grief is not an abstract concept. It is also a verb, in that we are expressing sorrow over the death of a very special person.

Grieving also plays an important role in the healing process, though the pain of loss may lessen over time, it rarely disappears completely. We must allow the grieving process to continue through completion. There is no shortcut that is adequate or proper.

It is necessary for our mental well-being to grieve and begin to accept the reality of the loss. Only then can we function and transition back to focusing on life in the here and now.

We find comfort and solace in several ways. Close friends are vital conduits of comfort and care. We can be available and offer comfort and solace, and most importantly, prayer. That said, faith in God and an abiding trust in His presence is the primary source of spiritual comfort and guidance.

One cannot offer comfort that is not genuine or given without much thought. Another professional acquaintance, having lost a son in an accident earlier in the year, upon learning of this latest tragic event, called me and swore he would never ask another person, ?How are you??

?What kind of question is that? A member of my family was taken away from me. How do you think I feel??

Having stood on the precipice of the abyss while two family members hovered between life and death in different circumstances, I am certain God?s spirit and faithful presence is the greatest source of comfort when everything else fails to answer the question ?Why??

No other answers are sufficient, except that God promises to walk with us through the most difficult of times. Given those promises, we are encouraged to continue seeking God?s face and ask Him to fulfill what He has already said He will do.

Though I am hesitant this Thanksgiving holiday to relegate it as just another wonderful day, these recent experiences gives one pause to consider how blessed we truly are.

We can, if we so choose, make this an unforgettable holiday, by coming up with ways to give comfort to those that are mourning the loss of health, loved ones or any other event that has taken away their joy for living.