Monday, November 18, 2013

A Forgiving & Peace Filled Thanksgiving

For the last few months I've been trying to think of what I would say about Thanksgiving this year. Yes, Thanksgiving is next week and as each us prepares for the holidays without our beloved child or children, for some it will be our first Thanksgiving and for others it will be our second, fifth or thirtieth - the number of years doesn't matter.

Yes there is no doubt, the holidays are difficult, but remember, the anticipation is usually more difficult than the day itself.. For our family, it will be our fifth Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday season without our 36 year old son Bobby and more than 40 years for both of my daughters, Randee Marie & Robin Marie who died in 1971 & 1972..  No matter how much time has passed since their deaths, the ache remains, a all of the “if only’s”  resurface, but what has changed over time, is that I find myself smiling a bit more than crying when the memories flood back!!!

I originally shared this article with all of you back in November 2010, the 2nd holiday after Bobby died…  It was written in 2006 by a dad who is a member of the Bereaved Parents group in Northern Texas, I thought it's perfect to help me and maybe others who might not understand why others around us can't feel our pain. I hope it helps you, as it has me, to gain some insight about forgiving those around us who may not understand our heartbreak and sadness and may they never know this hurt.   So as we all we all prepare for this holiday season, forgive those who don’t understand and may we all find peace as we remember and offer thanks for our beloved children and all the joy they gave us..Cherie Houston

~ Written by Jim Hobbs, BP/USA of Northern Texas from “Where Are All The Butterflies”

Thanksgiving was always an easy holiday. Unlike Christmas, there was no pressure of giving just the right gift! Thanksgiving Day brought family gatherings and good food. Late on those afternoons, we would return home full from over-eating and satisfied that our family relationships were intact. It was also a day that reminded us of everything for which we were thankful. We are supposed to be thankful for our health, our families, our comfortable life, etc.

The death of a child changes our perceptions, however. When the family now gathers around the Thanksgiving table, I now see a missing plate that no one else sees. When our nieces and nephews are laughing or crying, I hear a voice that no one else hears. When a family member recounts a story about something his or her child did last week, I wish for a story to tell. (Of course, when I say no one else, I exclude my wife and daughter. I’m sure that they see, hear and wish what I do, although probably at different times. We still have much to be thankful for, we bereaved parents, and we should remember that.

But now Thanksgiving Day has an additional observance for us too, doesn’t it? It is a day of forgiveness also. We must forgive others who cannot and do not acknowledge our missing child, for whatever reasons. If family and friends cannot understand us, then we must exhibit tolerance, forgiveness and understanding. On a day on which we offer thanks, we can and will climb another step on our ladder to recovery. I hope you have a forgiving Thanksgiving.

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