I’m sitting in my friend’s house, preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving, our first, with her husband and three children and her BIL and SIL.
You read that right, our first Thanksgiving. My children’s first Thanksgiving without their dad. My first in 14 years without my husband.
There have been several firsts – we’ve already had our first Christmas but it was so soon after the funeral that we were so numb and just went through the motions. I’ve had our first anniversary with my better half.
We’ve all been through the first birthdays, our first Easter, 4th of July, Groundhog’s Day (this was very important to us, hubby always joked that if his job gave him the day off he’d effectively have every holiday off work), trick or treat and now we’ve come to the first Thanksgiving.
We began our marriage by traveling to the in-laws’ house, my mom’s side and then my dad’s side – it was too much especially as the children came along. So we decided to just stay in for Thanksgiving, family could come over if they wanted, or not. Usually my mom and one of my brother’s would come. Don would get up early to put the turkey AND ham in the oven. I’d make the deviled eggs, Don would peel the potatoes for me so I can get them boiling and add my sour cream and chives. I’d make from scratch pumpkin pie and apple pie. We had a HUGE spread with hubby doing most of the work, thankfully.
I know he wouldn’t want us to be sad which is honestly easier said than done. There is a person missing – a HUGE missing spot in our Thanksgiving. Not be sad? Not grieving? It isn’t possible. Yes, we will strive to be happy, joyful, thankful but there will also be memories, sadness, and grief.
Be thankful? We can be thankful that we’ve made it this far, that we’ve almost a year without a dad, without a husband, friend, confidant.
I can be thankful my husband no longer has any health concerns.
I cannot, however be thankful that he isn’t here. That he was taken too soon.
I won’t pretend. I won’t plaster a fake smile – if tears come, we’ll let them come.
If grief rears it’s ugly, but sometimes necessary, head we’ll deal with it.
I’m not sure how this first Thanksgiving will go – I know that the Pilgrims gave thanks, even though there were losses that first year, so we’ll try, we’ll try to give thanks –
Thanks that we’re still surviving, still putting one step in front of the other.
Thanks that even while one is missing that we have our memories.
Thanks that the four of us are together, and it seems we are stronger than we were before.
One thing to remember that as we come together to celebrate and be thankful, we need to be mindful of those hurting hearts – whether it’s from a loved one missing, a health diagnosis or other hurt – we need to be mindful of those who are hurting. If tears come, if a memory comes to mind – give a tissue and a shoulder and a listening ear. Often times, holidays make the hole bigger, it’s like ripping off a scab and re-opening the wound – they may appear fine on any other day but then Thanksgiving arrives and it’s all fresh, like it just happened.
Be thankful? Yes.
Thanks for our faith, that we have a Heavenly Father, that keeps us surrounded in His love, keeps us in His hands and protects us – and that is ultimately what we all should be thankful for.
(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws