Thanksgiving: Gratitude, Grief, and Going on

Thanksgiving can be a wonderful holiday, a time to connect with family and friends, a time to enjoy good food and good friends around a table that we are often far too busy to all sit down at.

Thanksgiving is a time to count our gratitude. A day to truly contemplate those things for which we are most abundantly blessed.

Thanksgiving can also be  a day where tender hearts feel the jagged edges of loss. This day is one when all the joys of my life come full circle for me to wonder in admiration upon. Yet it is also a day when I remember the ones who are not with me.

Through the sweet moments of celebration there are glimpses of my grandmother, the one who I always knew loved me like no one else on earth ever could, nor ever would.

On this day I also remember my mom and dad who are hundreds of miles away, sitting down at their own table to celebrate the day. My other grandmother who finds comfort from staying put at her home, and therefore will not be with family for the holiday. I wish she were here, or I there. And all of my other family and friends who are spread far and wide.

Through a year of exalted hopes and dashed dreams, those of us on the path to conscious conception can also find ourselves face to face with a grief, a missing, a void on this joy-filled day built to remind us of all the other things in our lives for which to be grateful.

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude, and it is also a time for grief. For the loved ones lost, for the babies who never made it into the world to be here with us, and for the dreams still tenderly perched unfulfilled in our hearts.

As you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, make room for them all–they are a part of you. Each person, memory, and longing is a vibrant square in the quilt of your life. Cover yourself in them as a blanket against the winter wind.

Thanksgiving is a day to remember that it is gratitude that will always move us through our grief and to going on toward the abundance that lies not in the rearview mirror, but through the windshield above the dashboard headed for tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for walking this journey with me, for sharing your broken hearts with me, and for your determination to always get back up and move on. Thank you for inspiring me.

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3 comments

  1. And thank you for your gifted writing.

  2. Thank YOU for this wonderful post. This is exactly how I felt today… a little bit of everything. Blessed and thankful for family and friends, for abundance and for the opportunity to even try to conceive. But also I felt contemplative and wondered would I be in this same place next year or welcoming a new family member? (The same thought I had last Thanksgiving) Gratitude is essential and acknowledged, but that desire for things unfulfilled is also ever-present.

  3. My love and gratitude to you both.

    CK, may next year you find an extra spot at the table for your fulfilled dream.

    Heather, with a smile on my face I’m happy to know that you are only a few fleeting months away from your dreams becoming reality.

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