Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Remembering those who won't be around the Thanksgiving table tomorrow

This isn't that long ago (Thanksgiving 2007, I think), but it seems forever since I've seen my Mom and my sister Judi. That's little Jack on the left.

I am, by almost any measure, someone whose cup overflows with blessings.

I have everything I could possibly need and then some. While I've done nothing to deserve it, God has seen fit to grant me love, health and a ridiculous abundance of material wealth compared with much of the rest of the world.

I am, in short, spoiled.

I am so covered in blessings, in fact, that I seldom think about the rain that has fallen in my life. Granted, there hasn't been much of it, but there have been moments of sorrow along the way. Most have centered on the loss of loved ones: my parents, my oldest sister, my in-laws, etc.

Many people have suffered far worse loss than me, which is why I don't tend to complain about any of it. Death is the final destination for us all. There's no reason to expect it will somehow spare my family.

Still, it's hard not to feel a bit empty the day before Thanksgiving when I consider the unoccupied chairs around our dinner table tomorrow.

There was a time when Terry and I split our Thanksgiving days between my family and hers. We would do our best not to gorge ourselves in the early afternoon at my mom and dad's house so that we would have room for more turkey, stuffing and fixings at her parents' later in the day.

It was exhausting, especially the years we lugged around babies and little kids, but there's not much I wouldn't give to experience just one more of those loud, hectic, food coma-inducing Thanksgivings of years past.

For whatever reason, we humans are hard-wired not to fully appreciate what we have until the time comes when it inevitably goes away. Which is a shame, really.

On the other hand, it makes me that much more grateful for the people who are still around and who will be joining us tomorrow afternoon for food, fellowship and fun. The sadness of those we miss is made somewhat more bearable by the presence of those we love here and now.

If nothing else, that's what each of us should probably take away from the holiday we call Thanksgiving.

I hope yours is filled with blessings, with light, and with love.

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