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 moments...smile if you can...I'm sure a tear will fall too...but know he or she will be there.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jim - Thanks, been a long time since your last post. I listen every Sunday morning. Regards, Mike

Jim Monaghan said...

Thanks, Mike.

Ingrid Brusky said...

Absolutely beautiful Jim. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Ingrid Brusky said...

Absolutely beautiful Jim, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Adam Kenny said...

I was 14 when my father died on Memorial Day weekend in 1981. Every word you wrote about "Year One" brought me back to that time and place. For our family, a lot of stuff hit in relatively short order: Mom/Dad's anniversary, Mom's birthday and Father's Day all within the first three weeks.

Years go by and the intensity of the absence and the pain caused by it lessens but never fades away completely. As my kids grew up I found myself telling them more stories about their grandfather - who died years before either of them were born - than I thought I would.

A simply great piece. Your kids are fortunate to have you as a conduit to getting to know someone you loved and who they never had the chance to meet.

Drew Sarver said...

That was beautiful Jim. We lost my Mom in 2001 and I know exactly how you feel. On top of it, today would have been my parent's anniversary.

It gets easier with time, but it never goes away.

Barb Brownholtz said...

pitch perfect! I am sharing this with a friend who just lost his Mom.
Happy Thanksgiving...

Marc Moschetto said...

Great stuff, Jim. As you know, this is my "year of firsts" without Dad. Words alone can't describe the heaviness, but I take comfort in the fact that brighter days are ahead. Best wishes to you and yours for a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving.

Jim Monaghan said...

Thank you to everyone who responded. We had our entire immediate family with us yesterday for a full day of food, football, memories, and laughter. It was everything about Thanksgiving that my Dad always loved.

My Mom also brought over two photographs of my Dad that she had found earlier in the week. He looks to be about 12 in one, and in high school in the other. It was nice to have him "with us" again at Thanksgiving.