Donate Heart Image
“Open your arms to life! Let it strut into your heart in all its messy glory!”
–Deborah Wiles

Thanksgiving Intentions

Friendsgiving.  A new term for me, but one I just love.  Friends gathering and enjoying a meal together at Thanksgiving time.  I hosted our local “Party with A Purpose” Friendsgiving this past Thursday, with the purpose to raise money for Heartlinks Grief Center’s Partner Loss Workshop, which is held around Valentines Day each year.

The Partner Loss Workshop for the year ahead will be in honor of Toby Brown.  Toby was a counselor, a good person, and a wonderful champion for the Okawville area. He left us way too soon this year.  His wife, Holly, founded our “Party with a Purpose” group and we are honored to celebrate Toby’s life through the 2018 Partner Loss Workshop.  We raised enough from the 34 attendees to pay for the workshop and do some updating to the space we hold it in at Heartlinks.  Hooray!! Here’s a group shot I took of those that braved the winter storm to be together.  Diana Cuddeback, Director of Heartlinks Grief Center, is in the middle in blue, in honor of National Grieving Children’s Day.

When the attendees came to the Friendsgiving, they were asked to write down something they were specifically thankful for, some blessing in the past year.  My intention was to play “Blessing Guess Who?”  A simple game where the blessing is read and we all try to guess whose it is.  Of course, intentions aren’t always fulfilled, and as we enjoyed the evening and had our guest speaker, Diana, inform us about the programs Heartlinks provides, and way too much good food, I forgot to play the game!

There was a small group that stayed later, as I realized, “Oh my, I forgot the game!”  We started reading them to see if we could figure out who wrote each one.

Now, you know you are blessed to live in a small town when people laughed as they recognized, “No, that can’t be Donna, that’s not her handwriting!” We could figure out mostly because they revolved around grandchildren, retirements, health events, special trips, and family blessings.

One of the blessings written was “I am thankful that I’ve made it through these five years after my loss and now am feeling mostly normal.” That one struck me – five years.  Our research at Heartlinks verifies that five years is the length of time it typically takes to fully recover from a loss of a very close loved one.  That is lots longer than I, or most people, realize it takes.  But it rings truer as I talk with groups and people share their grief journeys.

So, if you or someone you love is traveling the difficult path of grief, just remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  It typically takes time to heal and gain a “new normal.”  In this season of Thanksgiving, fulfill your good intentions and be kind and gracious to all, especially those that need our love and patience as they grieve.

Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving!

Be Blessed,


Ellen Krohne, author of We Lost Her, available on

Heartlinks Grief Center volunteer and Family Hospice board member

“We Grow Stronger Together”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five + fourteen =