Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving...and missing someone

Thanksgiving is around the corner and you're probably busy getting ready for a houseful of family and friends. Maybe you celebrate at your own home; perhaps you go to someone else's house.

As a child, Thanksgiving was always one of my favorite holidays. For one, it meant my grandmother's turkey. I can still remember the frosting on the windows of my grandparents' house when we'd get there, and the smell of that turkey in the oven. There was nothing quite like that feeling when we were all around that table. My grandparents are no longer with us, but those memories....

A couple of friends of mine recently lost a parent, and this Thanksgiving will be the first since that happened.

There is no instruction manual for that first year after the death of someone close to you...especially a parent.

My Dad, age 10
We lost my Dad 33 years ago last night; it was less than a week before Thanksgiving. Needless to say, that Thursday was an emotional rollercoaster. Turned out he had also started to do some Christmas shopping before he died so on Christmas morning, my Mom gave my sister and me a couple of presents from him. Again, the emotional rollercoaster.

The whole first year is full of those moments - the first birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, etc. - and in some ways you say to yourself, "Just get through it." Even all these years later, I still have those moments when I say to myself, "I have to call my Dad and tell him about...." Usually it's regarding something one of my kids has done/accomplished. I remember saying to my wife after one such moment, "It's been all these years...when does that stop happening?" She thought a moment and replied, "Maybe it's not supposed to stop. Maybe that's how you know he's still with you."

I don't just try to get through those moments anymore. I treasure them. My son is the spitting image of my Dad from the shape of his face to the color of his hair and eyes. I think of all the times I was a little kid and wished I could have had him as a playmate. I've had that chance with my son.

Please know that parent will be with you in numerous ways this Thursday. Hold onto those if you can...I'm sure a tear will fall too...but know he or she will be there.