Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Togetherness is the main theme of Thanksgiving. It is a celebration of our beloved family and friends and of all the blessings in our lives.
At Thanksgiving, have you ever felt a loss that made you question why you should be grateful, made you angry with God?
Our memories center around preparation for the feast and the feeling of anticipating those who will be returning home to share the day with us. Once everyone is home, the real festivities begin.
In our house, preparations began days ahead to create the perfect day: vegetables were chopped, silver was polished and furniture was rearranged to accommodate everyone. There was no end to the fun!
Until the year we lost my father suddenly on a sultry day in August. Then our family shattered like the windshield of a car in a horrific crash.
My devastated mother’s movements were robotic and hesitant. My sister sobbed while trying to tie her apron. Where could we turn? What could we do? Our every move led us to him, to the memory of him. Going through the motions of a meal seemed futile and unnecessary.
The caring invitations of our loving relatives and friends, for some reason, just seemed to intensify our pain and sharpen our sense of loss. Who can explain grief? We didn’t want to go anywhere or see anyone. The three of us just clung together, like we were floating in a vast ocean with one life preserver.
My thoughts raced, yet they kept returning to one constant theme: It seemed that this wasn’t what Dad would want the day to be like for us. God was telling me that, but I was too distraught to hear Him clearly at the time. Something moved me: I chucked the meal plans and bundled us into the car. We went for a long ride and stood at the ocean together, listening to waves crashing against the shore. After witnessing a gorgeous New England sunset, we got back home.
It was time for something completely different: so we had a hot dog roast. Then we watched one of our favorite movies, The Sound of Music. Dad loved Eidelweiss.
At that point, we started talking a little and reminiscing together. It wasn’t a lot, the floodgates didn’t open, but we were able to speak together and relive some of the happy moments in a quiet and tender way.
We felt blessed to be together, to have that day and to have the memories that we treasured together.
We got through it, together…and in an unexpected way, we were graced with the realization that he was still very much there with us.