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The familiar routines which precede our Thanksgiving meal are both comforting in their sameness and unsettling because we are different. How can I go about these preparations like my world is unchanged? I do it because I don’t know what else to do today; we must move forward, or at least try. Brian would expect this…
Amidst the mixing, stirring, roasting, slicing and dicing, my mind turns back, replaying scenes of this day from years past...
The first Thanksgiving celebrated in this house was topsy-turvy. We had been up to our eyeballs for over six months in construction and renovation. When your teenagers complain about being forced to eat restaurant food, it is a sure sign you have passed the point of common sense. This was one of our first real ‘home-cooked’ meals, cobbled together in our incomplete kitchen. Flash forward to last year… The transformation was nearly complete, lacking only the wall backsplash. We had returned to normalcy… John and Brian were constantly underfoot, sniffing around, sneaking samples, wanting a ‘taste’ of everything, generally getting in the way and on our nerves. Rapid-fire questions: ‘Is it ready? Let me have some. What time will it be done? I’m starving!’ Snap back to the present… What is normal for us now? It is far too quiet; I would give anything to have him utter those words again. We are missing something far greater than a few wall tiles; it is as though the heart has been ripped from our home.
This holiday has always been centered on family, sharing a meal and acknowledging our blessings. While I am grateful for many things, it is a struggle to remember them when confronting Brian’s loss and the conflicts left behind. Open thankfulness feels like a betrayal of his memory, an act which could be misinterpreted to mean I no longer hurt or ache in his absence, when nothing could be further from the truth.
Still, we are admonished to give thanks in all things… Some are no brainers, for good things are easy: the company of my sisters, mother and nephew on this occasion; the bountiful meal which is forthcoming; the general health of the rest of my family; our warm home; our jobs; the countless and continuous prayers of family and many friends… As for this other, hard thing: I am grateful for the time Brian was given to us, even though I wanted and expected to have far more... By choosing to think of the years we had with him instead of dwelling on those we will not, I hope we can find a ray of light to brighten this dark place…
Wishing you hope…tg
We have a new supply of ‘Remember Brian’ bracelets to share; please send your request and mailing address to email@example.com.
Tammy will update her blog on Mondays and Thursdays. -- Jen, site administrator