My Grandmother lived to be 91 years old. I can remember thinking during the “holidays” the last few years of her life– she may not be here next year. I would try to spend a little extra time talking to her. I actually found out some things about her life that I never knew. She had a lot of difficult times in her life. It explains a lot about her.
I have fond childhood/adulthood memories of most of the family getting together. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandma and Granddaddy would all gather around eating, playing, laughing and talking. She died in 2011. I can’t believe it’s been 5 years. I think of her often. Grandparents are a blessing. I am thankful I knew all of mine. I am thankful I can remember them. I am thankful for the time I was able to spend with them. I am thankful for the memories.
This Thanksgiving, same as last Thanksgiving, we will have Thanksgiving without Amanda. We had no idea she would not be with us for these holidays. No way to plan or think about it like with my Grandma. Amanda was way too young to think she would be gone. She didn’t have a disease where we could get our minds and hearts prepared or to sit and have extra conversations. She was here one minute and gone the next.
Sometimes when we gather now, I think to myself, any one of us could not be here next time. Amanda’s death has taught me, you really never know. Any minute or hour you can spend with someone you love is a gift. Oh, I don’t mean it’s easy to gather up the “want to” to spend time with others. At times it is very hard to have the energy. This second time for Thanksgiving is harder than the first. Not real sure why. I attribute it to so many changes, the truth sinking in and the first time for holidays we had a resolve to make it as good as we could for the children.
It’s hard to have the mindset to be thankful for the time I had for her instead of being upset she is gone now. After all, isn’t that supposed to be my mindset, especially since I am a Christian? You know, that old half glass full or half glass empty mentality. Some days I do have the attitude at least I had her for 32 years. Some days I am missing her so much I can’t think about being grateful. Wrong, yes; human, yes.
I do want to be thankful for the time I have now with the rest of the family. I don’t want to ignore them because I am overwhelmed with grief. I am thankful for all of them. I want to have conversations with them, laugh with them, play with the children and eat with them. I want to remember we are none promised tomorrow.
Some of you are reading this and thinking – it’s been 19 months, I should be better now, back to my old self. I will never be my old self. My old self had a daughter who was alive in a bold and beautiful way. Amanda was a big part of my life. I have an uncertainty about me now that I did not have before. Not quite sure of what to say at times, not quite sure of what to do at times, not quite sure of what to plan, not quite sure of how to answer the questions, not quite sure of just about everything. Some days are a struggle, some days are not. Some things make me cry, some things make me laugh. I have talked to a lot of mothers who have lost a child and years later they are still having good and bad times. It is normal and going to be normal. It has gotten better. I have more days of not crying at all. I will always miss her, especially during the “holidays” and birthdays, when we always gathered. I probably always will only to different degrees.
This Thanksgiving, I pray I will look around and be thankful for those who will be with me. I pray, the thought of those not around, for whatever reason, will not lead me to a mind-set of anger, bitterness, sadness or grief. I pray, I will be thankful I know Amanda is in heaven. I pray, I will be thankful for those I love and those who love me. I pray, those I will not see will know I love them even though we will not be gathered together. I pray, this Thanksgiving will be filled with caring, sharing, forgiveness, healing and love. I pray, I will see the many, many, many blessings in my life. I pray, I will be thankful for the unseen as more than the seen. The unseen things of God are far greater than the things of earth. Really shouldn’t be just a Thanksgiving thing, should be a mindset, I pray it will become my mindset everyday – thankfulness.
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not see; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Cor. 4:16-18 (NASB)
Lord, help us all to not give up, to not give in, to a heart of missing our child so much we miss out on those living.
Praying for all of the bereaved parents out there.
Love and hugs.
Manda’s Mom #APG