Monday, November 23, 2009


So far today I have six emails that wish my family and me a Happy Thanksgiving. These are from people who know Colby has passed away. These are from people who know that I have no family to spend Thanksgiving with. It is still three days until the actual holiday. I wonder how many more people will be so insensitive?

I am sure that there are still a few "happy" Thanksgivings in my future. 2009 will not be one of them. It is too soon; my emotions are too raw. My grief is too strong. Yes, I have things to be thankful for. Many things, and I give thanks every day. But being thankful and being happy are not the same thing. Not by a long shot.

I understand the people who have emailed me are trying to be kind. But it is good to remember that those of us who have experienced recent tragedy, who have had recent loss, who do not have family to spend holidays with, will not celebrate the day in the traditional way. We no longer have the option of joining hands with our relatives around a table laden with food. We experience Thanksgiving differently. I have asked others who are grieving, who have no family left, how they spend their holidays. Some hole up with a book, some stay under the covers in bed. Others go for a walk, watch movies, work, clean house––whatever it takes to endure the day, to get through it, to be thankful it is over. Some, those whose grief is not so new, fresh, raw, join with other "only" people, those who have no family, and celebrate the day. Someday that will be me. I look forward to that.

Colby's passing is a good reminder that some people celebrate holidays in non-traditional ways, not because they want to, but because, for them, there is no other choice. 

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