I pulled out the Thanksgiving decorations and planned the menu. I invited my brother-in-law and cleaned the holiday dishes. I prepared a centerpiece and baked the pumpkin pie. I made the pine-cone turkey place settings that have adorned our holiday table since the girls were little.
Everything was the same as all the other Thanksgivings, yet everything was totally different. In a somber mood, I sat down to read through Neil’s Caring Bridge website from last year.
I found this post I wrote last Thanksgiving:
November 27, 2014
So much to be grateful for this year!
More than I can ever list, but especially our four beautiful daughters; our sweet Grammy; our sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews and all our relatives; all of you reading tonight and your heartfelt prayers being said for us every day; the food on our table this afternoon and all the food shared by our generous friends and neighbors each week; our nice warm home, full of the love and joy and memories of our family; and most of all, that we had this special day to share.
Thank you so much, dear God.
I found great jokes like this from my nephew Sean:
Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl in the bathroom?
Because it has a silent pee!
I found kind words from friends and family living close and far:
Rest, pray, heal, and just enjoy the family — just remember its okay to have those bad
days when you look up to the heavens and yell “really?!” Keep talking to God – keep
yelling, crying, leaning on him when you need to –even Jesus wept. Please remember we (though far away) are also – yelling, crying and on bended knee praying. There may be many, many, many miles separating us — but you are always close to our thoughts and prayers —and I know God is looking down on your family with a tear in His eye, and saying – can you hold on for just a little bit more?
And most of all I found our story again, and all the pain and joy and agony and peace that makes up life.
Every one of us has lost something or someone since last year, I can guarantee it. But we have all gained something, too. I have gained the peace of knowing my husband is not in pain, or short of breath, that he is up in heaven having a beer and pumpkin pie with Jesus and my Nana. I have gained the extra moments in my day to enjoy solitude and quiet, to write and read, to pray and walk. Don’t get me wrong, I would trade all those in a heartbeat to have my husband back alive and well, but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. Best I can do is appreciate what I do have, and thank God for all my many blessings, not just at Thanksgiving, but every day.
So remember, enjoy your blessings today; they are not yours to keep forever.
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit” – you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are like a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, “If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that” (James: 4:13-15).