When I did a Google search to see what other countries celebrate Thanksgiving, nine countries were mentioned from Germany to Norfolk Island, Japan, etc. You can see for yourself. It is “normal” depending on where you grew up and what your cultural customs were to recall what were important holidays for you. In my family, Thanksgiving was always a family honored tradition spent with a favorite Aunt and Uncle and their children along with lots of musical performances! As an adult now, with many relatives no longer alive, and families spread out geographically everything changes.
How do we adapt to those changes as time goes on? I believe you learn to go with the flow if you want to be at peace. What exactly does this mean? Perhaps you get a wake-up call that life is temporary and sacred and try to be grateful each day for something, even if your life is not as you imagined it would be at this moment. All moments change and transform into new memories. Rather than grieve the loss of what you had, which of course is also “normal,” be grateful for the good memories you do have.
I recently saw a film which depicted some of what I am writing about. It was called Let There Be Light. While I am not an Evangelical Christian by any stretch of the imagination, I found the film quite comforting because the experience the Father has with his departed son is akin to my own experience I had the morning of my Father’s death. Films like this, or experiences you may have with those you have loved and lost prove to me, at least, that there is another side to life. While we all can say we don’t know what that is, I loved the way the Mother in the film verbalized it to her children before succumbing to cancer. She reminded her children that just as they are in the other room when she is resting, so too will she be with them on the other side watching over them when she is no longer here.
I think it is helpful for each person to find what ideas work for them to live a life with the least amount of stress. In closing, may we all be mindful of wishing each other well and as the secular Buddhist tradition reminds us, “May we all be free from suffering.” A smile and gratitude go along way. I look forward to hearing about what you are grateful for.