Diane Sasser | 10/28/2005 8:53:38 PM
Hurricane victims will be faced with the question this Thanksgiving, "What are you thankful for?" and some will find this question difficult to answer. The holiday will be a reminder of what’s been lost in floods and devastating winds.
LSU AgCenter family life professor Dr. Diane D. Sasser says that at a time when most families come together, Thanksgiving may be spent by some trying to find private time away from family members. They’ve had too much togetherness living in close quarters 24-7 after fleeing hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Despite, or perhaps even because of, the hardships, however, Sasser says holidays and special days become more important. Getting back to rituals, establishing new traditions or even adopting temporary ones that you may jokingly call the "Katrina-Rita Post-Storm Holidays" will help you take steps in reclaiming and re-starting your lives.
One way to put an optimistic face on Thanksgiving 2005 is to ask each person at your family gathering to name one positive thing that has happened as a result of the storms.
"You can expect there will be times when family members recall their losses and are sad," Sasser says, explaining, "Grief is a natural part of the process of moving forward."
Small things, like smells, may trigger some of those bad memories. For example, some people might no longer store fish in the freezer because it reminds them of the rotting fish they smelled when cleaning out their freezer after weeks without electricity.
The next step should be in recalling the goodness you can find in the present. Sasser offers several possibilities.
You may be thankful for shelter, life, family, strength, dry clothes, relief workers, the end of this year’s hurricane season, a new day, no longer waiting five hours along the side of the interstate for transportation away from the city, the time you had with the family members who are no longer with you and for new babies who remind you that life goes on.
"Last but not least," Sasser says, "you can be thankful you are not a turkey."
For information on related family topics, click on LSU AgCenter Web site, www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: http://www.lsuagcenter.com/
Source: Diane D. Sasser (225) 578-4448, or Dsasser@agcenter.lsu.edu