With Thanksgiving coming up in a few short weeks, many of us can’t help but focus on the negatives that we may be facing right after the holidays and further into the future, especially when considering divorce.

There is no doubt that all of us, no matter the circumstances, will have bumps in the road. So how can you get past these dark thoughts, at least for now?

Every year at this time for the past 10 or 12 years my daughter and I have spent a few hours helping out at our local food pantry. We help them prepare for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

It’s an overall massive undertaking but with many volunteers it goes very smoothly.  

The first night we sort all the food donations into categories on labeled tables. The second night people with bags pick up one or two items from each table to pack for those less fortunate while others continue to stock the tables. Sadly, every year we see that as many as150-200 families just in our small town have to rely on the food pantry for their holiday meals.

As we assemble these donations for these unfortunate families I reflect on how lucky I am, and how humbled I am that I have always managed to have the necessities. Even though there were about 5 years when my daughter and I struggled with many day to day situations during and after my divorce, we were always able to have food on the table. Granted there was a strict budget, but we never went hungry.

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on how much we have, and have had to be thankful for. Divorce will invariably make some changes to your future, but there is so much that you will carry forward with you forever. When the holiday blues try to sneak up on you, think about what you have, but not so much about the material things.

mother and childrenThink about your family and your friends. Remember your childhood and how far you’ve come. If you’re spending the day with your in-laws (or outlaws as one of my clients termed them), remember it’s only one day out of the many decades of your life, and your inner strength can get you through a few hours.

But the one day really isn’t what it’s all about. It’s your own personal reflection on your past experiences and relationships that have enhanced your life.

Once you do begin your divorce, things will change. But NOTHING can take away your family and true friends, and most of all who you really are. That’s what can get you through Thanksgiving as well as your divorce. Hold onto that…


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Ellen Wanamaker

Ellen Wanamaker is a Divorce Financial Specialist and Communications Strategist. She began helping women with uncoupling, after her own egregious divorce from which she created a step by step system. Post-divorce, she went on to become a Matrimonial Paralegal, Mediator and Divorce Financial Specialist. Ellen's divorce strengths stem from her financial background, being a federally licensed tax practitioner for more than 25 years,, and investment and insurance advisor. She has been helping women in many stages of divorce set up their finances on autopilot. Ellen is also the author of the popular book "Divorce Starter Tools Women Need."