I just scrolled through a very long facebook news feed with numerous people reflecting on things for which they are thankful. It seems as if they are all going to write one thing they are thankful for each day of November as a lead up to Thanksgiving.
I’m not quite there yet. Yes, I could make a list of things I am thankful for, but the feelings would not be authentic. In all honesty, I do not feel like being thankful. The feelings of dread and fear overshadow most other feelings when thinking about the upcoming holidays. I can’t begin to imagine Thanksgiving without my Mother. It is all too painful to write about as well so I will borrow a quote that sums up my feelings nicely.
Loss is the hardest thing, but it’s also the teacher that’s the most difficult to ignore. Grief can destroy you –or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.”
― Dean Koontz, Odd Hours
“The ache is always there.” I think what strikes me most about this quote is the last line. This is what my Mother would say to me. “To nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.”
Maybe that is what I am looking for, a reason to stop “taking solace in the emptiness”. I would never want to disrespect the gift of my Mother’s life. I always want to celebrate it. Feelings of gratitude are very hard to list in the midst of realizing her presence is not here during one of our most favorite times of the year.
Even so, I can say with an honesty and certainty in my heart, today I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for the 35 years I had with a mother like Judy King. I am thankful for the man she married that I call Daddy. I am thankful for the many Thanksgivings we put up a Christmas tree and made memories shopping on the Friday after. I am thankful for my husband and how he helps us make our own memories with our children. I am thankful for my children. Will and Charlotte bring joy on days when we need it most.
I am thankful for family traditions, new and old. Will, Charlotte, and Papa made homemade decorations for their very own Christmas tree in the spare bedroom at Papa’s house last night. They even made popcorn garland and a paper chain. It does seem a little early to put up a Christmas tree, however, we have discussed maybe changing some traditions and taking care of them early may help ease the difficulty.
I do believe a new tradition was started last night, and I do believe a little girl and boy created a memory with their Papa that they will never forget.
Today, I am thankful for family. Today, I am thankful for traditions. Today, I am thankful.