Holidays will never be the same. You might not think that one person’s absence can make life look so completely different, but it can. It has for me, anyway. Nothing is the same. My most precious treasures now are my memories. Sometimes, I fear that if I live to be 80, I’ll have lost that wonderful blessing of “remembering.”
Today, my wonderful Uncle Gary and Aunt Linda are having all of us come to their home for the big meal. Before we go by, we’ll be stopping by the cemetery. Not exactly my favorite time. I get a lump in my throat as I approach the place where my dad is buried. Grief revisits me. The memories pass through my mind like a movie on fast-forward. The realization that those times are over, forever, is hard to take. I wish I could make new memories with Dad. I wish I could see him again, now.
As I near the ground where he is laid to rest, and reach the gravestone, I’m reminded of that scorching hot day we all gathered to inter him there. Our tears watered the several tissues. That ground supported the bodies of four people who could hardly stand. The ground was hallowed by our grief, by our memorial to Dad.
As I think of going to the grave today, I get a lump in my throat and that feeling of dread. I might start crying. But I’m deciding to do something different this Thanksgiving Day. I’m thanking the Lord for that hallowed ground.
I’m thankful that I have memories that flash across my mind like a movie – I could have had to bury my dad when I was much younger – before memories could even be made! Many people come from divorced homes, and only get weekends with the other parent. I had mine all the time.
I’m thankful for what that memorial in the graveyard represents – the resurrection! My dad was born again, he was saved, I will see him again! There is absolutely no doubt about it.
I’m thankful for the place where is laid to rest. He is buried with my Mom’s family, my grandparents, my uncles. He is buried near the farm where my Mom grew up, where I visited often as a child and made so many wonderful memories. I have the world’s best aunts and uncles who love me more than I deserve. If I had lost my parents when I was young, they would have taken me in and loved me like their own. They are wonderful people. It’s a blessing that, when I’m overwhelmed with grief, I am also overwhelmed by their love.
I’m thankful for my mother who will stand next to me on that hallowed ground. I’m thankful she is still with me, to talk to me, pray for me, encourage me, and love me. I know there are times that she’s missed Dad so much that she’s wanted to go on to Heaven, too. But I am so glad that she is still here. I need her! I need her love, her wisdom, her prayers.
I’m not going to dread facing the loss of my Dad today. Instead, I’m going to be thankful for everything, including a trip to the cemetery.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day ~