Divorce and the Holidays

What are holidays like for those grieving? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’m emphasizing divorce here because I can speak personally of that. I cannot do that for other situations. However, for anyone going through grief and loss, the holidays can be hard. I think of my friend Evan Minton, who lost his mother this year and how Thanksgiving could be very awkward this year. There are many widows and widowers out there who will be having a hard time. I think of my friend Christina in Charlotte whose young husband died this year.

Now for me, I have never really cared for Thanksgiving. I really like for the most part being on the spectrum, but Thanksgiving is awkward. The holiday is now pretty much all about the food, that I don’t care for aside from pumpkin pie, and then socializing. The first Thanksgiving I remember truly enjoying, I had the flu and had to stay home and Ocarina of Time had just come out and I spent the evening trying to get through the Forest Temple for the first time.

That used to be my second best also.

The best would have been the first Thanksgiving I spent with my ex-wife and her family. I can’t really say that anymore. That memory now only brings pain.

I noticed at my own job that I was becoming more irritable these past few days. I suspect it has to do with all these people coming in talking about the holiday and saying “Happy Thanksgiving.” It doesn’t help that my love life has suffered and just recently I thought I might have had something, but no, that didn’t work out. For me, Thanksgiving is a kind of loneliness.

Sure. I have my parents here, but I’m 41 years old and I thrive on being independent. Being in Texas for ETS was an awesome time for me because I was out there and on my own and making my own decisions. No. My parents don’t control me, but I am dependent on being in their house. They’re great people, but I do long to be out there myself.

I am busy preparing for the furtherance of my education and I don’t know how I will manage to pay for it all. I still want to earn enough to live on my own. I want to have a woman in my life again. I want to be able to go to a job that I enjoy and that I think I make a difference at.

In that situation for me, Thanksgiving is hard because I’m thinking about all the things I don’t have and I am tempted to cry, “How long, O Lord? How long?” I know I have many things to be thankful for, such as I am a child of the king, I live in the greatest country on Earth, and I do have my family and many great friends.

Sometimes, it’s just hard still.

You could call me ungrateful, and I suppose that could be true to some extent, but it’s something we all struggle with for the most part. We all can easily overlook our blessings, but for the holidays, those going through a real loss can still struggle with that. The things I write of I pray for every night.

This holiday season, through Thanksgiving and Christmas, try to remember those people around you who are grieving. If you know someone who has lost a loved one, do a kind gesture for them. Do something that says you’re thinking of them. Get a gift for a friend or invite them over to do something.

Remember also those less fortunate you don’t even know. Work with a charity this year to provide for someone in need. Provide a Christmas gift for a child who will have nothing this year without one. If you know someone who does care for food, invite them over to Thanksgiving dinner or provide a meal for their family.

This year can be hard for many people struggling and depression and suicide rates can easily go up. Please be remembering those people. For me, this is my first holiday season officially as a divorced person and don’t think it doesn’t come to mind that I proposed on Christmas Eve. It’s easy to tell someone to focus on what they have, but it can be hard as we all know. It’s far better to walk alongside those who are suffering.

Please be a gift to them this holiday season. Maybe they can be thankful in the end you’re in their lives.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)