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Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks/Thanksgiving demonstrates our gratitude for endless blessings to include harvest, family & prosperity. Moreover, I would be amiss for failing to acknowledge this holiday triggers depression, isolation & pain. This is the truth for those who have experience the death of loved ones & or other trauma events. The purpose of this article is to share a portion of history on Giving Thanks/Thanksgiving, mourning of the Wampanoag-Native Americans & grieving insight/help.

Article Overview

Giving Thanks/Thanksgiving demonstrates our gratitude for endless blessings to include harvest, family & prosperity. Moreover, I would be amiss for failing to acknowledge this holiday triggers depression, isolation & pain. This is the truth for those who have experience the death of loved ones  & or other trauma events. The purpose of this article is to share a portion of history on Giving Thanks/Thanksgiving, mourning of the Wampanoag-Native Americans & grieving insight/help.

History

The United States of America celebrates Thanksgiving, a national annual holiday on the 4th Thursday in November https://www.ef.com/wwen/blog/language/celebrate-first-thanksgiving-us. Thanksgiving or Giving Thanks is celebrated in most countries around the world. It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year https://www.history.com/news/8-thanksgiving-celebrations-around-the-world. Yet, the dates of the celebrations differ and are held based on the year or lunar calendars. Of course, the US year calendar of January 1 to December 31 is founded on the Gregorian Solar Calendar through the progression of seasons; as the earth revolves around the sun. The lunar calendar is based on the different phases of the moon https://www.britannica.com/science/solar-calendar. The Chinese celebrate an annual holiday around the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. The celebration, known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, typically falls in late September or early October, when the moon is fullest and brightest. The festival originated as a holiday to express gratitude for the changing of the seasons and to celebrate the fall harvest https://finance.yahoo.com/news/9-other-countries-celebrate-thanksgiving-110021067.html.  

It is reported that Canada's first Thanksgiving celebration predates America's—by more than 40 years. In 1578, an expedition led by the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a ceremony in what is now Nunavut, giving thanks for the safety of their fleet. This is considered the first-ever Thanksgiving celebration in North America, though in fact, First Nations (the indigenous peoples of Canada) and Native Americans had been holding harvest festivals long before the Europeans arrived. Loyalists who moved to Canada during the Revolutionary War introduced turkey, along with some other customs from the American Thanksgiving. Canada's Parliament formally established a national Thanksgiving Day (November 6) in 1879; as of 1957, the date was changed to the second Monday in October. Thanksgiving traditions in Canada look very similar to American ones, including eating turkey and watching football. The Canadian Football League reportedly holds an annual Thanksgiving Day Classic with families.

In Ghana, Africa it is the "Harvest Festivals and/or Festival of the Yams" were dedicated to the hopefulness that the crops will be plentiful for the coming year and no one will experience famine. This event seems to be celebrated in August or September. The Festival of the Yams is centered around the new yam harvest. Families are brought together, thrilled, hopeful and slightly competitive; to be the group with the largest crop. Reports indicate everyone in the village comes together to share their bounty and yams are the prized dish! During this harvest festival, the villages rejoice by dancing and singing with animal masks, acknowledging the end of the rainy season and desiring a fruitful harvest to last well into the new year https://www.goabroad.com/articles/gobble-up-these-7-thanksgiving-traditions-around-the-world.

Wampanoag, Native Americans Grief

Yet this enduring holiday has allegedly and nearly erased the memory of war between the Wampanoag, Native Americans and the English Colonists during the 17th century https://www.ef.com/wwen/blog/language/celebrate-first-thanksgiving-us/. This bloody battle seems to have primarily resulted from the colonists' continued desire to obtain more of Wampanoag's land. The death toll seemingly was high as 30% of the English population and 50% of the Native Americans of New England. According to research the Thanksgiving holiday is a season of mourning for Wampanoag, Native Americans https://www.britannica.com/biography/Metacom.

More Grief

I cannot not fathom or imagine the trauma, tragic and emotions that has emerged and continues to linger from murdering the Wampanoag's tribal families that included women and children; since I have not "Walked in their shoes." This is like the Holocaust, Africans stolen from our motherland, shamed, abused, killed and includes death during the voyage from sickness; separation from their families/tribes/villages and sold as slaves in America; then the Israelites were in bondage for 400 years, until Pharaoh let the people go. Today we have witness immigrant children held in cages. Illegally separated from their parents, how inhumane. Yes, trauma, loss, separation and death.

Grieving Insight

Subsequently, death of a loved one and trauma events like separation of a child from a mother/father is one of the most devasting experiences a child or parent faces. Moreover, victims and survivors of a traumatic event, series of events and/or set of circumstances are so overwhelmed that their ability to cope in healthy manners many times diminishes. Therefore, the loss results to lingering periods of grief and/or sadness. Then others may cope differently and for shorter periods of time. The grieving process depends upon the individual and the trauma experience.

Be mindful that grief and sadness are normal healthy responses to death or trauma. Everyone may experience the primary stages of grief when suffering from the death of a loved one or trauma. These primary stages are: (1) Denial where individuals cling to a false reality; (2) Anger where they question "Why me?"; (3) Bargaining hoping that the cause of grief can be avoided; (4) Depression where a feeling of helplessness sets in; and (5) Acceptance where individuals embrace mortality/death (Kubler-Ross, 1972).

More emotions and experiences of victims and survivors may include serious physical injury, intense fear, retaliation, horror, substance abuse, self-hatred, shame, nightmares and "I am forgotten." Grief and sadness are also compounded by harmful and threatening childhood and life events. These events present lasting adverse influences on individuals' overall mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Please read below the Signs and Symptoms of Complicated Grief by the Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/complicated-grief/symptoms-causes/syc-20360374

Complicated Grief Signs and Symptoms May Include

  • Intense sorrow, pain and rumination over the loss of your loved one
  • Focus on little else but your loved ones' death
  • Extreme focus on reminders of the loved one or excessive avoidance of reminders
  • Intense and persistent longing or pining for the deceased
  • Problems accepting the death
  • Numbness or detachment
  • Bitterness about your loss
  • Feeling that life holds no meaning or purpose
  • Lack of trust in others
  • Inability to enjoy life or think back on positive experiences with your loved one

More Complications May Include:

  • Have trouble carrying out normal routines
  • Isolate from others and withdraw from social activities
  • Experience depression, deep sadness, guilt or self-blame
  • Believe that you did something wrong or could have prevented the death
  • Feel life isn't worth living without your loved one
  • Wish you had died along with your loved one

Seeking Help 

This is the time to seek help. Call 911 or your local emergency services number right away. Or call a suicide hotline number. In the United States, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. More resources are your primary health physician, local Community Mental Health Agency, Pastor; and in Miami Dade County are 211 and 311. If you and/or some one else needs help to cope with the death of a loved one, please visit the e store and download a copy of Help in the Midst of Grieving Handbook for only $1.59. You will not have any regrets and please share this article with famly, friends and church members. Finally please comment after reading the article! Many blessings! Arnetha aka neatbooks4u