Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving-My Child has died, can I ever be thankful?

This time next week it will be Thanksgiving and for many of us who've lost children, we can't imagine being "thankful"...  Almost a year after my son Bobby died and just months after I'd begun this blog and first began receiving emails from mom's and others outside of our group, I received this story about Thanksgiving - I apologize but I didn't save the name of whom sent it to me, but I want to share it with you.. 

The holidays are difficult, and for some, as hard as we try we can't seem to get back into them the way others wish we would...  but I find her comments in the last paragraph comforting and inspirational, and what I've learned since Bobby's death (also 2 months before Thanksgiving in 2009) is that I am thankful - I am thankful he was born, that he was my son, that I enjoyed him for 36 years and 23 days and that he gave me two beautiful grandsons who remind me of him every time I look at them and I'm glad that Bobby is now with his 2 angel sisters in heaven; and I'm thankful for my wonderful husband Dan, 2 incredible sons Ric & Sean & 2 great step-sons Dan Jr & Doug, 5 daughter-in-laws who I love Margaret, Jennifer, Nikki, Suzanne & Mandi, my adopted daughter Jennifer and 9 1/4 grandchildren that I've been blessed with.. Yes - I have a lot to be thankful for..


~ By Linda Moore

Dear friends...If this is your first Thanksgiving since the death of your child, I am so very sorry. There is nothing I can say here to make it better, wish I could. Everyone has to do the holiday thing in their own way...whatever might make you the most comfortable. I will share with you part of my Thanksgiving story…

For years our family had gone away for Thanksgiving. We were joined by extended family and it was always a good time. When our kids were little, we all went camping, cooked the turkey outside in a smoker. Some great memories there.

As the kids got older, and I figured out that fixing a big meal outdoors was only fun for everyone else, not the ones bringing everything for it and fixing it! Our game plan then changed and we began going to a hotel on the beach in Carlsbad. Now that was the say to go. We had a big suite, nice heated pool at the ocean’s edge and maid service!!

Then one year, Brad died two months before Thanksgiving. I could not fathom feeling Thankful. My child had died!! 

All the hotel arrangements had been made the year before. We were on automatic pilot and just went with the flow. I did insist on everyone sharing a memory with Brad and lighting a candle in his memory. When I made this request, there were probably some anxious moments…I don’t remember, nor did I care. In some ways I think it was good for us sticking with some of the traditions that Brad loved and adding new ones to honor him. Was it hard? No doubt. Should we have stayed home, gone somewhere else? No matter where we would have gone, he still would not have been there...there is no getting around that. The pain would have been with us no matter where we were.

We told Brad we loved him, writing it in huge letters in the sand. I spent quiet moments by myself, walking on the beach. I cried by myself and with others. I even laughed a couple of times as we shared silly moments of other Thanksgiving days with Brad. Most of the day I felt I was in the “twilight zone” - participating but removed.

That night, when I was by myself, I sat and wrote a letter to Brad – a letter telling him how thankful I was that he was my son, that I had him for those 17 years, 364 days...That I was thankful for every moment, great, good and not so good. I was thankful for the love we still had.

Have I ever had a “normal” Thanksgiving again?, I have rearranged things in my mind...some
things I keep to myself so others can fully enjoy the day. But I always include Brad in some way. I cannot change that he is no longer physically I have to change my world to make way for this new life of mine and make the best of it.


  1. Cherie,
    Thanks for your beautiful writings. We are chapter leaders for the Compassionate Friends in Leesburg, VA. We are seeking your permission to use your writings in our area newsletter. Thanks in advance for your consideration.
    Bernie & Bev Elero
    Leesburg, VA TCF

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