Holiday Hardship by Abbie


Abbie J. Taylor 010This post by Abbie Johnson Taylor

Thanksgiving is almost here. In past years, I’ve lost my mother, two grandmothers, my husband, and my father. Although I try to keep a joyful attitude during this time, the following poem from That’s Life illustrates how difficult the holidays can be for those who have lost loved ones.

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...
English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Thanksgiving is coming.

Already, a friend far away

asks if I have plans.

I’ll spend Christmas

in the tropics with my brother,

but Thanksgiving’s up in the air

with no husband, father, mother.

Other relatives have plans.


At least I don’t have to clean the house,

shop, prepare food for twelve people,

pick up after everyone,

deal with leftovers

while men watch football,

women fail to be helpful,

children run around,

scream, argue, cry.

It’s not the same.

English: Saying grace before carving the turke...


If you’ve lost loved ones, how do you celebrate the holidays?


Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of:

Front Book Cover - We Shall OvercomeWe Shall Overcome



Cover: How to Build a Better Mousetrap by Abbie Johnson TaylorHow to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver


Visit my blog.

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

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Order That’s Life from Finishing Line Press.








16 thoughts on “Holiday Hardship by Abbie

  1. Abbie, I love the way you see the brighter side of your situation. I’m sorry you may be alone, but hopefully you’ll accept your friends invitation for Thanksgiving and what a joyful Christmas you will have with your brother. Bill will be close by, smiling down on you, wanting you to be happy. I’m sending, love, prayers and hugs to you. Cher’ley


  2. Holidays are a ‘mine field’ of emotions. As a loner, by choice, I understand the being alone. As you illustrate in the poem, both happy and sad are part and parcel of being human. Finding joy in every minute is the gift we give ourselves. Thank you for sharing your life. Doris


  3. Such lovely poetry! Thank you for sharing. I think some of us have definitely gone through similar situations and it’s sad at the time, but ultimately makes you a better person for having had the struggle. I’ve spent a Thanksgiving or two alone and while they were for reasons different than yours they were nonetheless depressing. I look at those happenings as in the past and my outlook is so much brighter now. I accepted a friend’s invitation to Thanksgiving one year and it was special just being with her and her family. Do spend time with your friend and look forward to Christmas with your brother. What blessings we all have!


  4. I can’t answer for a Thanksgiving holiday since we don’t celebrate this in Scotland. If I spent a holiday like it alone, I would probably listen to nice music or watch lots of movies which I rarely do during the year- something different from normal.


  5. I’ve never spent a major holiday alone, but as loved ones have died or moved away, my Thanksgivings have changed a lot. No more chaos. This year a friend is driving up and we’ll eat at a restaurant the three of us have never been to together. It had become tradition for four of us to be together for Thanksgiving, but his wife, my best friend, died less than a year ago, so we’ll do our best to be cheerful for him. And for us. As the poem implies, the work and chaos of holidays turns out to be more precious than we know. I will be thinking of you on Thursday. I hope the day will be good.


  6. I’ve had a friends tell me they have difficulty celebrating Christmas because of the lost of a loved one, sometimes close to Christmas, sometimes not. One year when I was up at my mom’s and sister’s for Christmas, a family in the town lost a boy to a sudden disease just a day or so after Christmas. What a struggle those people must have at Christmas time. My sister’s mother-in-law ended her life just a few days before Christmas back in the early ’90s. Yet my sister Jody and her husband Larry had three daughters, the youngest less than eight, so they had to make sure the girls had wonderful Christmases. Life can sometimes be really, really hard.


  7. I enjoyed your poem, Abbie. My grandmother’s birthday is tomorrow. We lost her a few years back. The family usually celebrated Thanksgiving and her birthday together. It’s always a little bittersweet. But I’m very grateful for the years I spent with her and my grandfather. If they weren’t so wonderful, it wouldn’t hurt so much.


  8. Yeah, the holidays can be really hard when you’ve lost people you love. For me, it’s no father, sister, mother. My mother is still alive, but she has dementia, and is more and more like a stranger every time I see her. We have to try to be joyful as you say, but we can’t deny the grief either. We can at least be thankful for the gift of having those people in our lives as long as we had them. Thanks for sharing your lovely poem with us, Abbie!


  9. Abbie, we try to remember friends that are alone at this time of year. Thanks for reminding us how fortunate we truly are. By the way there is always room at our table for one more.


  10. Wonderful poem that really speaks to me. We are separated from most of our family members, but we make due with our little family and are very lucky to have each other. Being thankful is sometimes all we have.


  11. Abbie, I do hope your Thanksgiving Day was enjoyable with your community of friends. I know my husband’s mother is having a difficult time with the loss of her husband, Greg’s dad, and I know many people in my circle of friends who no longer have some of their loved ones. Holidays can be difficult but when we seek to find the positive, as in friends, quiet time, and/or enjoying something else, we can still find beauty, meaning and joy, as your poem points out. Your poetry book is delightful! Keep you all your good work!!


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