'What Do I Have to Be Thankful For?' Tips for Facing Loss at the Holidays

The healing power of giving thanks and expressing gratitude is very strong.

Thanksgiving is approaching, the holiday that encourages us to stop for a moment in life to give thanks. 

This holiday reminds and encourages us to gather as a loving family, to celebrate the joy of love and thankfulness.

However, for many experiencing a life of being alone and the pain of a relationship loss, this holiday is filled with grief, sadness and fear of the future. 

This holiday may be one you want to avoid.

You're thinking “What do I have to be thankful for?”

Giving thanks and showing gratitude might seem like crazy concepts.

What you are feeling is very real and natural as you are grieving. You may be grieving the loss of one you loved, the relationship you had and most of all the family that you were or thought you would be.  

Often during these times our sadness and fear turns into anger.  We begin to feel the anger toward the media and retail industry for constantly promoting such a loving, wondrous holiday season.  

As those around us are joyous of the holiday we become depressed when we hear laughter and see the festive spirit in holiday colors and symbols of the holidays. Many times we become angry at ourselves for not being able to “snap out of it” and get into the holiday spirit.

As we begin the process of redefining our lives during this time of transition and  relationship loss, we need to understand we do have much to be thankful for. 

Sure this year and years to come will not have the same feel as the years of the past.  We have become a different person because of the changes within our lives.  Our lives have been and will forever be rearranged. 

As we begin to travel through the transition to a new life, we start to understand our priorities, the preciousness time and the power to love.  The love of others and yes, of ourselves! 

As we begin to understand the sadness and fear, we begin to manage our anger.  We start to fit in socially and maintain a level of self-love and acceptance on a one-day-at-a-time schedule. We begin to understand our Movement of Choice.

We become wiser than we ever were before, even if you don’t feel so quite yet. Make this the first thing you give thanks for this year? Try saying this….I am thankful that I am becoming a wiser person!  Say this out loud. 

Not there yet?  It’s all right to feel what you are feeling…try saying.., "Even though I am really sad this year, I am grateful to be growing into a wiser person."

The healing power of giving thanks and expressing gratitude is very strong. Many lives have been changed by expressing and giving gratitude to others and to ourselves. 

What better time to begin your Movement of Choice and begin a gratitude journal…a “Thanksgiving Journal”! Start today, this American holiday of Thanksgiving. I encourage you to begin to write a list of things you can truly be thankful for.

Take action…start by being thankful for the small things in life.  For instance, the beautiful sun in the morning, the smell of coffee brewing, fresh baked cookies and the sound of a child’s laughter, there are many I am sure you can think of and are thankful for.

Look within…give thanks for your health.  That you simply wake up in the morning. Give thanks to what you bring to others and the wonderful person you are.

Take a moment to look at your past and give thanks for those who have touched your life.  As it is those who have touched you on your journey in life who have made you who you are today and yes add those you have touched.

Look to your future as fearful as it may feel at times…you have much to be grateful for.  Think about the positive changes in your life, allow yourself to begin to dream.  To dream of the future to come!  Humbly offer these thanksgiving possibilities to you.

As you are making your “Thanksgiving Journal,” it is OK if tears are staining your pages.  As without true feeling we are nothing.  What you feel deep down is who you are and for this we are very thankful.

May this Thanksgiving holiday be the one which will give you peace in your journey of life!

Cece Shatz,

My Friends Connect, Inc.

Certified Divorce Coach and Public Speaker

Radio Host of Going Solo – Life After Divorce, http://rhinoonair.com

Dads Going Solo – www.dadsgoingsolo.com

My Friends Connect Tampa Bay Divorce Support Social Group


My Friends Connect Transition into Dating and Relationships


My Friends Connect Tampa Bay Relationship Wanted 45+ Singles


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

cherylwithac November 20, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Cece, your article was clearly intended to help yourself, not others. Please be honest with yourself and the readers of Patch rather than blaming me for your bad judgment in posting a sad missive under the guise of helping others.
Bobbie Lasher November 20, 2012 at 02:29 AM
And just for the record cherylwithac I can say I am a true follower as I am also Cece's sister. I can and will continue to follow and promote her as I do believe in her cause and I have seen first hand the good she has and will continue to do. You should really be careful who you follow as well. Whom ever you are getting your information from is misinforming you. These are terrific things she speaks of and many people that she has helped are thankful for her helping hand. She is not using this to advertise anything, she is simply reaching out any way she can to those in need. Obviously you have never been in a troubling way, but if you ever are you will pray someone like her reaches out to you. So again before you judge maybe you should research...this way the facts are there and everyone isnt misinformed. Cece has reached out to so many and has been a huge support link in the Tampa Bay area for sometime. Please do not confuse her kindness as she is a beautiful person to do what she does. And let me say she doesn't get paid for the advise she gives!!! It is truely from her heart...if the world had a few more Cece's maybe we wouldn't have so many suicides and so forth. When someone reaches out to help others as she does, she should be supported not judged. Let me see do the shrinks that get paid the big bucks get tore up like this??? Nope just the little gal trying to lend a hand...a free hand at that. So no she shouldn't have to pay a fee for a random act of kindness!!!
Samuel Clemens November 20, 2012 at 02:34 AM
WOW!! Could you imagine Cheryl WITHOUT ac?????????????
Bobbie Lasher November 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM
As a new Patch user I am amazed that it has its own Patch heckler..very annoying!!! This petty bickering over the amount of a blog is childish. Give it a rest lady! Wait a bake sale is for profit, look at who is advertising now!! Cherylwithac how about putting this much effort into your bake sale and let others have a chance to post as well. You have too much time on your hands. And honestly your negative thoughts are getting old. Thought for the day..find something nice to blog about..!!!
David Conkle November 20, 2012 at 01:22 PM
As someone who has a degree in social work and has gone through divorce twice, I completely understand the need for help or support during what is often a life altering event in one's life. CeCe's well wtitten Blog Post was appreciated and helpful to me, even though I've been happily married to a most wonderful woman named Liz these past twelve years. I also have no doubt that CeCe is sincere in her efforts to help others during the holidays, which are a hard period for many who suffer through the numbing pain of loss that divorce can cause. Perhaps, we all need to look to the greater good here though instead of concentrating on whether this is an article in the guise of an advertisment or is it about helping those who are truely in need of the help CeCe's support groups provide? At the end of the day, Cheryl, you're presenting yourself as petty, bitter and overly obsessive about this matter. Maybe, you could attend one of CeCe's groups to see if they might be beneficial in helping you find some small measure of peace and happiness. Just sayin... that's all!
Cece Shatz, My Friends Connect Tampa Bay November 20, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Thank you David for your heartfelt post as you are very correct with regards to my intention. It is wonderful to hear you have traveled though and made the transition to living your best life! Liz must be an awesome lady and of course pretty lucky! May your holidays be a wonderful as your outlook on life...Enjoy every moment! Big Hug!
jalen November 20, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Cece, keep doing your thing--- you go girl. we need more positive messages like this one... loved the advice and sound wisdom. now if you want to see an advertisement checkout www.inspiretampabay.com
jalen November 20, 2012 at 03:43 PM
jalen November 20, 2012 at 03:44 PM
truer words could never have been spoken--- salute!
Bobby November 20, 2012 at 04:57 PM
What happen to the John's they caught in Clearwater ? it would be interesting to hear the results. Bobby
cherylwithac November 20, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Bobbie, so you're Cece's sister. I'd expect you to support her.
cherylwithac November 20, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Bobbie, you've missed the point, which is that Patch indiscriminately posts journalism and advertisements as though they are the same thing. They are not. Cece may be the most wonderful person in the world. That's not the point. The point is that advertisements are not journalism, and Patch has a serious ethical problem presenting them as though there is no difference between the two.
cherylwithac November 20, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Bobbie, overall, suicides go up during SPRING, not during the winter holidays. You are also making assumptions about me that are not true. Let's just stick with the topic: whether Patch should post advertisements and pretend that they're journalism. Cece herself is not the issue.
cherylwithac November 20, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Aha--there IS a reason that Cece's articles are posted and others have a hard time getting anything accepted: you personally know Cece. So it seems that to get an article published on Patch, one must personally know someone who works for Patch. THAT IS EXACTLY THE PROBLEM. It's not Cece per se who is the problem; it's Patch's lack of ethical standards. I will no longer view anything on Patch ever again as journalism given that you routinely confuse it with advertisements.
Keli Sipperley November 20, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Hi Cheryl, yes, all blog posts appear the same way on the site, though it may not always appear on the home page. Blogs are labeled as "Local Voices" at the top of the post to differentiate them from articles posted by staff editors and/or freelance reporters. Blog posts that are not found on the home page can be found under the "Local Voices" tab at the top of the page. Bloggers are not paid, not do they pay to post blogs on the site. The platform is free to use for anyone who would like to share their views, expertise, business insights, etc. just as they might on other blogging platforms such as Tumblr or Wordpress. Bloggers are welcome to publish posts on Patch as often or as little as they'd like, which is why some bloggers' posts are seen more frequently on the site than others. If you would like to submit a blog post, follow this link to get started, it's quick and you can post right away: http://stpete.patch.com/blog/apply
David Conkle November 20, 2012 at 08:35 PM
CeCe: Liz is absolutely awesome, a woman to be loved. Honored too. I be the far luckier one, tis true! She offered her assistance great in helping heal the many self-inflicted wounds on my lonely and torn apart heart -- took my hand and then led me on a journey to a much brighter day. Tis true! Each day in wonderment, I marvel --that one person could be filled with so much goodness, kindness and capacity to care. If I were a "miner for a heart of gold" then when meeting Liz I really hit the motherlode, tis true! And now you know why too, that, I love her so -- because she knows. Tis true! Hope you liked my ode to Liz, she is a truely a special woman. She likes my ability to have lots of fun and see the humor in any situation. Granted, sometimes; too soon? I've taken to saying "life is good, it's too good." --The past is the past is the past, the living is for the now, the trick is to live the now right so the future takes care of itself-- <>David Conkle<> :--} Roger wilco, over and out!
David Conkle November 20, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Right on, sister!
David Conkle November 20, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Why are they catching guys named John in Clearwater? Is that now against the law too? How many John's did they catch? Were they beaten or tortured just because of their name? This is outrageous, I'm contacting my State Representatives immediately!
cherylwithac November 20, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Bobby, you just don't get it. Advertisements are not journalism and should not be published by Patch unless they are labled as advertisements. Also, it appears that to get a front-page advertisement published, you have to be a former Patch member or know someone on Patch. Those are unethical standards.
cherylwithac November 20, 2012 at 09:42 PM
David, Cece may be the most wonderful person in the world. But that's not the point. The point is that Patch purports to be a journalistic enterprise when it prints advertisements under the guise of journalism. And now we learn from Linda that Cece used to work for Patch, and that's why her advertisements are presented as local news. That's what's wrong with Patch, as I pointed out in my very first post on thie subject. Advertising does not equal journalism.
Valerie Nolte November 20, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Thank you to Cece for her blog, which by its very nature is an expression of the writer's experience or opinion. I do not know her, nor do I have a need for her services, but I welcome her insight based upon her background and work history. To me, it makes perfect sense that a blog about life experiences would be written by someone who works in this field. It's no different than today's fishing blog written by a boat captain or the blog discussing "Brain Drain" that is written by the owner of Bailey's Naturals Herbal Apothecary. People write about what they know. It adds credence to their essay. If I read a blog and feel the writer is knowledgeable about their topic, I look at it as an opportunity to learn something. I may even decide to schedule a fishing charter with Captain Bill or drop by Bailey's Naturals to pick up some fish oil based on the information they shared in their blog. It may be considered advertising by some; but it is probably more accurately described as public relations since there is no call to action in the blog and the blogger does not pay for its posting. Either way, it should be clear to most that a blog is not a news article. I have to admit I'm having a difficult time relating to cherylwithac's aversion to this blog and her attack on Patch's ethics and the credentials of its journalists. Personal attacks only serve to make the attacker appear callow.
Bobby November 21, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I think I might have posted in the wrong area and I will have to look for the story they did yesterday on John's trying to buy hookers, sorry for the post.
cherylwithac November 21, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Lori, your ignorance and naivete amaze me. I asked for Cece's credentials long ago, and the only information that I received from her brother and friend is that she's a great person. That is not a credential. I want to know what she studied, where, and the degree that she earned. Without that information, I can only assume that she might be like Jim Jones, whose followers drank the Kool-Aid. They thought that he was a really fine fellow, too, until the moment they died. We always need to be wary of self-appointed gurus, and since Cece has set herself up as an expert on grief, I want to know her credentials, if any. So far, she has not responded as to her bona fide credentials to get a front-page article on Patch except that Cece used to work for Patch. That's cronyism, not a credential.
cherylwithac November 21, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I meant Valerie, not Lori. And I have yet to hear from pikehunter, who would like the opportunity to publish a front-page advertisement as Cece has done.
cherylwithac November 21, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Keli, what are the qualifications for getting on the front page other than knowing Linda or some other person aligned with Patch? That's a real question, not a hypothetical one. I look forward to your answer.
Cece Shatz, My Friends Connect Tampa Bay November 21, 2012 at 11:56 AM
David, your post regarding your wife was a breath of fresh air! Love, honor and respect are important aspects in a relationship and it looks like you are one lucky man. The past is the past and I am sure it was one journey for you to experience but so pleased to hear you are where you want to be....Happy!
Cece Shatz, My Friends Connect Tampa Bay November 21, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Regarding my credentials, my bio is listed on Patch.com. I have been through the school of hard knocks and realize there are many on this same journey. Over the years I along with others in My Friends Connect with our "paying it forward" method have helped many through the pain and devastation of divorce. Currently there are over 300 members in the divorce support/social group, over a 100 in the transition into dating and relationship group plus over 200 in the 45+ singles group. I am a Certified Divorce Coach and attended the CDC Program guided by Pegotty and Randy Cooper who are local here in Tampa. The program is very enlightening and I would highly recommend this course to anyone seeking such a vocation of helping those through divorce.
Cece Shatz, My Friends Connect Tampa Bay November 21, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Patch.com has kindly offered me an opportunity to blog simply because there are people who need the comfort. I am not a professional writer, merely someone who has the heart to help and I am honored to do so. The question presented by Cheryl was why are my blogs on the first page? Maybe we should also ask this same question to The Huffington Post, where they have featured the divorce support group and Bay News 9 when they did a weekend feature Thanksgiving 2010. The answer could simply be, there are people who need and want the support. Regarding advertising, this was not my intention. But I must admit Cheryl, with your negative unfounded personal attach you have certainly driven attention to what I do and I thank you for the exposure. If you look at the other blogs you will see the sites are also listed. This is smart of Patch.com because it creates additional exposure for them as I am an active promoter of divorce support in social media. Regarding the post from my sister, Bobbie, words can’t begin to express the love I felt reading her words of respect and support. This will certainly be a special entry in my Thanksgiving Journal!
Valerie Nolte November 21, 2012 at 04:47 PM
At the risk of further providing a forum for your bitter tirades, cherylwithac, I am neither ignorant nor naive. I am able to read a blog on a website and differentiate it from a news story. I can also determine, based on the comment by Linda Hersey, that Ms. Schatz was a blogger for the St. Petersburg Patch. That does not mean she worked for Patch. What I am not able to comprehend is why this particular blog or blogger causes you such angst. I'm beginning to believe you have a personal reason for attacking Ms. Schatz or anyone else who feels she has a right to share her thoughts on the feeling of sadness that some experience at this time of year. Ms Schatz offers practical ways for people to become more aware of and thankful for all the good things in our lives. There's nothing radical about keeping a journal or appreciating a beautiful sunrise. In fact, there is nothing whatsoever in this blog that asks anyone to do anything other than to be grateful for their life and have hope for the future. Why would she need to give you her credentials for that? If you want to continue to be angry and spew negativity, perhaps you should start your own blog. In the meantime, I suggest you take a look around you and see where you can help someone in need rather than spending your time attacking others. To repeat Ms. Schatz' ending comment: "May this Thanksgiving holiday be the one which will give you peace in your journey of life!"
Anne Cobb aka www.thepostcardlady.com December 17, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Wow, if cherylwithac seems to have nothing better to do than demean any post that is on here, you must be one of those bitter lonely people out there, maybe if you would not be so offensive you would have someone to share a Holiday story with, The article said what do I have to be thankful for, me I'm thankful to have people who care enough to see my strength and get through life even thou terrible things has happen in my life, I won't let hate take residence of my heart or soul. I am strong enough to have a good heart. I am thankful that a person like you is not my neighbor, but if you were I will find why you are so angry. I will pray for you, and let God judge and help you. When there is no more I can do, I shall shut my door and let you spend time, either healing yourself or continue your path of self destruction. I say get over it and move on.


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