Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving remembrance

When Thanksgiving rolls around, I am always sad; sad because Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my daughter alive in a family setting and the first and last time I ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner for Marcy and her new husband in 1993. Since then, I am, thankfully, invited to friends or family's homes for the holiday, since most know how I feel about this time of year. Memories are all I have now, but they are warm recollections of a wonderful child. She was a gift that I was able to keep for 27 years, a very special gift. I am indeed thankful every day that I had her for as long as it was possible.

My friend, Genesee Gentry, bereaved mother, a wonderful poet (she has written two poetry books), and active in Compassionate Friends, wrote this poem about Thanksgiving. It might hit home for many of you, because once your child has died, others don't want to talk about the child unless we, as parents, bring up their name so that others will remember also.

The thought of being thankful
Fills my heart with dread.
They'll all be feigning gladness, 
Not a word about her said.
These heavy shrouds of blackness
Enveloping my soul
Pervasive, throat-catching,
Writhe in me, and coil.
I must, I must acknowledge, 
Just express her name,
So all sitting at the table
Know I'm thankful that she came.
Though she's gone from us forever
And we mourn to see her face,
Not one minute of her living
Would her death ever replace.
So I stop the cheerful gathering,
Though my voice quivers, quakes,
Make a toast to all her living.
That small tribute's all it takes.

I hope you all have a pleasant Thanksgiving and a happy first day of Chanukah, which falls on Thanksgiving this year.