Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Feelings of gratitude-ish...

The cornbread has just come out of the oven. The pies and cakes are done. That's all the prep work that needs to be completed before the big meal tomorrow.

As we get ready to spend Thanksgiving with those we care about, our thoughts turn not only to what time the turkey needs to be put in the oven, football, and food coma, but also counting our blessings and thinking about the things and people for which we're most thankful. (Of course, we should be thankful every day, but a holiday called Thanksgiving kinda accelerates the process, you know?)

This year, the joy of turkey, stuffing, and green bean casserole (the one thing I really do love most) is tempered by the hole in our hearts, as this will be the first Thanksgiving without my father. I've been told—and I've already experienced—that the "firsts" are always the most difficult, and there's no denying that, but a holiday that is marked by togetherness will be even harder.

The last six months have moved both exceedingly fast and far too slow, and while the realization that he won't just walk in the door has begun to sink in, I've still picked up the phone to call him countless times to share a thought or an anecdote with him.

Dealing with this loss, it would be easy to say there isn't anything I'm thankful for this year, because honestly, I'd give anything for even one more day. But truthfully, as I ponder the times I've felt grateful this year, especially the past six months, I realize that it's more important than ever to express my feelings.

To my friends and family from every phase of my life who have reached out countless times to see how my family and I are doing, I am more thankful than words can say.

Losing a member of your family makes you truly treasure those who are still with you, so I am grateful that despite the sadness, we will still celebrate Thanksgiving together, surrounded by special people.

I am, of course, grateful every day that I can spend my life with the one I love, and that the world is slowly but surely enabling everyone to have the rights to love whomever they choose, and do so with the same rights.

Most of all, I am grateful to my father. During the speech I gave at his funeral six months ago, I said that he was the greatest man I've ever known. I have endeavored every day (some more successfully than others) to live my life treating people the way he did, and I am beyond thankful to have had him as a role model and a friend.

No matter where you are, no matter whom you are with, I hope your Thanksgiving is a joyous one, and I hope you have things to be thankful for. Thank you for your generosity, your humor, your support, and everything that makes you the incredible person you are.

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