So, it’s almost Thanksgiving, and I wanted to acknowledge that while I am tremendously grateful for my life and all the joys I get to experience, the holidays can kind of suck if you love someone who is no longer alive.

And I wanted to say to anyone who is reading this, that if you are grieving through tomorrow’s holiday (and the upcoming Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa/whathaveyou) I hope the day slips smoothly by for you with minimal drama and pain and that you know each year will get easier. It sounds annoying, maybe, but time does heal. It won’t always be this bad.

I hope you don’t drop a casserole dish or hurl insults you’ll later regret at someone or break down in tears at the dinner table. I hope you’re spared all of that and you have an easy day.


We’ve had some pretty shitty Thanksgivings in years past.

My dad died on October 4, 1996. (And his mother, my grandmother, one week later: Weird.) That was such a swirl of horridness All Around. And immediately after my grandmother’s funeral in Virgina, Daddy J had to go on a month-long international recruitment trip and leave me with baby Commodore and percolating baby Rockinrolla and a very distraught Grandma MJ. I was trying to remember Thanksgiving from that year, and I just have NO IDEA what we did. Surely we did SOMETHING – probably at my grandparents’ house? No recollection whatsoever. I’m sure it was awful.

The Thanksgiving after Ward’s accident was hard, too. We had at that point established that Daddy J and I have different grieving styles. His is Bring on the Clowns!! He wants distraction: fun people, music, activity, noise. And in no way do I knock this approach; immmersing oneself in the world seems a really healthy thing to do. I, on the other hand, crave quiet and gentleness during grief. I want soft voices, delicate music, and dimmed lights, and I want to wear velour and fleece and drink hot tea and red wine and I want to chat with one or maybe two people, or else sit by the fire in quiet comaraderie and read books. A room full of people talking transmogrifies into a room with the TV on and channels flipping by wildly and the stereo on FULL BLAST and a strobe light blinking and the dog barking and a car horn honking and a person on one side of me explaining quantum mechanics and a person on the other side describing their Great Aunt Bertha’s Rose Garden Dilemma and in the corner someone is clanging cymbals and it is entirely Too. Much. Information.

Anyway, we had a big Thanksgiving that year, and it was very healing and wonderful for Daddy J, which I am happy for, and I made it through, which I am also happy for.

And on more recent Thanksgivings we’ve had a miscarried baby and then the knowledge that we were infertile, both of which were crummy and tainted the whole thing.

But, this Thanksgiving is different. We have a Rainbow.

I am, of course, grateful for my countless blessings. People around me who love me and to whom I can express my love, a healthy body, a tantalizing future, material comforts.

But what I am most grateful for this year is something I heard during a deep meditation a few years ago.

I was terrified of another tragedy. What if something happens to Daddy J or one of the boys or my mother? What will I DO? I don’t think I can handle it. Is anything else bad going to happen to me? PLEASE SAY NO.

And I didn’t hear that my life would be tragedy-free.

What I heard was:

It willl all be okay, because you’ll never be alone.

It was a huge comfort to me, a warm reassurance. No matter what happens, I’ll always have God/Spirit/Angels/Universe with me, and I’ll be okay.

So what I’m most grateful for today is that Presence.

I’m glad You’re here.

Thank You.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leah
    Nov 26, 2009 @ 03:18:23

    This is a very beautiful post. It really makes you think.I am grieving this Thaksgiving. I’ve been reading your blog for a long while now because I have a lot of things in common with you and a very similar way to think to yours. And mostly because most of your posts give me some relief from my pain, especially those about Ward.

    I lost my nephew 6 months ago. His parents (my sister and her husband) passed away when he was 2 weeks old, in a car accident. And I was named his legal guardian and tutor, so he’d been living with me since he was 1 month old until he was 3 years old, so he more than my nephew was my son. It’s the first Thanksgiving without him and then then the first Christmas will come. Right now it hurts a too much I never thought I would be able to bear this kind of pain, but like you said time heals. And I read “The Shack” a few months ago and it helped me a lot, too. and I think what you said at the end it’s kind of like some of the things that The Shack says and I am too truly grateful for that.
    Beautiful post. Thank You

  2. sweetsalty kate
    Nov 26, 2009 @ 04:45:23

    Oh, oh. Just sighing. This was .. perfect. Yes. xo

  3. thisbumpyjourney
    Nov 29, 2009 @ 02:14:22

    Leah, I am so sorry it’s taken me a couple of days to respond to you. I’ve been dealing with a ear infection and have been kind of out of sorts, but you have been in my thoughts. I just don’t know what to say. That is so devastating. I hope that your Thanksgiving was as good as it could be, and I hope your Christmas is the same. I remember how raw and hard the first months and year were after Ward’s accident; I am so very sorry you have this pain right now. I hope you feel your nephew and sister close during the holidays and I hope you find some comfort wherever you can.

    I was just talking about the Shack with some women the other day. It’s funny what sticks out in it for people. My very favorite chapter was when they were cooking in the kitchen and dropped the bowl and made a mess, but they laughed about it and didn’t complain about the dessert they weren’t going to have. I should read it again. There were parts that really touched me.

    And thank you, Kate. So many of your posts are so moving for me. I don’t always comment (I’m often crying) but that definitely doesn’t mean I’m not reading. I love your blog.

    Which reminds me – I need to try again to do the blogroll thing on this blog. I gave it a half-hearted attempt when I first started, but I couldn’t get it to work out.

  4. Leah
    Nov 29, 2009 @ 06:58:17

    Thank you very much. I’m sorry I’m going through this too. I never imagined it was possible to experience this pain, and O don’t wish it even to my worst enemy. I haven’t been able to completely wrasp my head around all of it. I mean I just can’t accept that I’m not going to be able to hear his laugh again, or to get him in my arms and to feel his head on my shoulder and breathe in his smell or kiss him in the top of his head or listen to him calling me Lee-Lee with his little voice or watch him sleeping and wonder what he’s dreaming about. All of this is so earth-shattering and painful that I can’t yet understand it. But I think is getting less worse each day, and I hope the time comes when it stops hurting this way. And thank you for your words I am getting comfort from the people I love. I’m sure without them I wouldn’t be able to live past through this.

  5. Jane
    Nov 30, 2009 @ 19:57:08


  6. thisbumpyjourney
    Dec 02, 2009 @ 14:22:38

    Oh, Leah, I know. I’m so sorry; sometimes it just seems impossibly hard. I’m thinking of you this morning and hoping this day is as gentle as it can be.

    I wanted to suggest that you check out the compassionate friends site if you haven’t already:

    Go to online support community and register, and then you can chat in their grief rooms. The Bereaved Under Two Years room was a LIFELINE for me soon after Ward’s accident. It can be so helpful to chat live with people who are feeling what you are feeling. Some people swear by live-and-in-person support groups that TCF has all over the country, so you may like that, but I never felt up to actually leaving the house to go to those, so I wouldn’t know.

    Also, the Miss Foundation is wonderful:

    Their forums are not live chat (although occasionally they do have live chat) but it’s an active board and you will also get great support there.

    And Glow in the Woods is wonderful as well:

    You will find some thought-provoking and talented writing about grieving a child there, and the comment boards are active there as well.

    And please also know that I look forward to hearing from you here as well, and would love to read anything you would like to share about your sweet nephew.

  7. Leah
    Dec 02, 2009 @ 16:38:54

    Thank you. You really have no idea how much I appreciate it. It’s really a lot of help. And I’ll be here to read what you share about your wonderful Rainbow.

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