Where oh where did we ever get the idea the holidays should be perfect? Of course, they are often fun, but perfect? Most of us remember the Thanksgivings of our past as much for the things that went wrong as the things that went right. Lumpy gravy, a rare bird, fire in the deep fryer, all etched in our memory. Even with all of our experience we still begin the holiday season with dreams of a perfect Thanksgiving dinner.
But how can you have a perfect holiday when someone is missing? Death, divorce, or even distance might mean that the family that gathers around the table this year is one or more short. Loss is always hard, but it is really difficult around the holidays. So, what do you do?
First, consider aiming a little lower. Don’t expect perfect. Instead, aim for pleasant. Know the day will be a little different from holidays past.
Second, have a plan that includes being with people. Friends are the family we choose. Pull together a pot luck of other folks who will not be with family. If you have no one to spend the day with, volunteer to serve dinner in a shelter or church. Don’t spend the day alone.
Number three, acknowledge the loss. If you lost a loved one share a memory, “Remember how dad would never let the turkey rest,” or “How Ryan always mixed his corn with his mashed potatoes?” If you are missing someone because of distance, FaceTime them or call. Just be sure to address the elephant in the room.
Finally, focus on the people who are with you. Revel in your blessing. Celebrate that you can help people in need, that you have friends to gather with, or that even though your family is missing a father or son, you still have loved ones around you. Be present. Be grateful. Let go of perfect.
There are a million ways to say thank you. Great or small they all have value.
Big dollars or only a few dollars, lots of time or only a little time, where there is a will there is a way to say thank you to those who serve in our military.
Many who serve in the United States Military make a career of service. Others serve for a brief period and then move on to other careers. Regardless of whether the military is a person’s life work or a part of their life for a brief period, the experience often leaves its mark.
When the time comes to plan a funeral for a veteran it can be difficult for family members to sort out how much to emphasize the military service. Your funeral director is just the person to help.
He or she can suggest ideas that incorporate all the important aspects of one’s life into a single cohesive service plan. The funeral home offers many products that have a military theme. Caskets, vaults, and cremation urns that represent each branch of the service are available to honor a veteran’s service experience.
Pictures and video tributes can be put together that showcase all aspects and stages of life. Music selections may include the familiar songs that identify each branch of the service. All of the military aspects can be integrated with love of family, interests and hobbies, as well as spiritual beliefs that identify the multifaceted person who has died.
The Federal Government provides burial benefits for those who are honorably discharged from any branch of the service. What is provided is dependent upon enlistment status at the time of death and circumstances of the death. Suffice it to say the burial benefit provided by the government will not take care of everything. The funeral director will help a veteran’s family access those benefits available and fill in where needed.
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