Sunday, November 24, 2013

Finding reasons for thanks, at Thanksgiving, is difficult

For those of you who are experiencing your first or second Thanksgiving later this week without your children or grandchildren, know that during Thanksgiving dinner when everyone proclaims what they are thankful for, your heart will probably skip a beat, and tears may well in your eyes and in your heart you might think, how can I be thankful - my child is dead...  But also know that in time, despite the horrific pain you feel now, there will come a time when you will be so grateful for every moment you had with your child or grandchild... even for mom's who never got to hold their babies, in time even they are grateful..

There is a blog that I visit often ( This blog is written by a dad who lost his young 22 year old son Richard on May 25, 2009, just a few months before my own son Bobby died on September 19th 2009.

I found the blog within weeks of Bobby's death and I continue to visit the blog often  and still gives me tremendous comfort; probably because so much of what Joe Mudd writes, is what I am feeling so that helps me to know I'm not alone, it's OK, I'm normal, I am not going crazy.

Surprising isn't it, that many around us who fortunately are not part of this "unique group"; seem to believe that once the first year of grieving is over, then of course; we will be "better"; we will have "moved on", but those of us who are part of this "unique group" - we know too well that this "new normal" is not something we get over, get better from or move beyond; it is simply a pain that gets a little softer and that we learn to live with..

Instead I imagine that, like Richard's dad, most of us are very grateful; thankful that we had our children, no matter how short their time and yes, this unbearable pain, is worth whatever length of time we had them...

This is the post that Richard's dad wrote in 2009 on his blog about his son.. sentiments I think so many of us share - so as you prepare for Thanksgiving without your beloved children, it is OK to be thankful for all that they gave us and for all that we have now.... Cherie Houston

by Joe Mudd on November 26, 2009, Joe is a dad who writes a blog about his son Richard, who passed away on May 25, 2009 - Joe's blog, which has truly become a favorite of mine is: "; Stop by and visit sometime...

It’s Thanksgiving Day 2009 here in the USA. Time to give thanks to our maker for all the good things he has given us. It has also been six months since our son Richard, who was only 22, died on May 25th of this year.

So you probably think we won’t find anything to be thankful for. After all it’s hard to be thankful for grief, pain and a huge part of our life missing. It takes more work to find it, but yes, there is much to be thankful for.

I’m grateful for my great family and friends. All the love and support they’ve given us has been pulling us through this process. It still hurts, but I can’t image what it would be like without them.

I’m grateful to have my beautiful daughter and the grand-dog home with us for this holiday. She’s a very special young lady.

I give thanks everyday for the wonderful memories. They make us realize how much we’ve lost, but they remind us of what we had. And it was special.

And this one may make you think I’ve gone completely off the deep end. I’m thankful this hurts so very much. No, I don’t enjoy the pain. It’s nearly unbearable. But this pain is so intense because we had so much love and fun with Richard. He was a treat. We had a special relationship his whole life. I wouldn’t change much.

Of course there are some things I’d like to have been able to do. Richard did shot put and discus in high school. Because I work second shift I wasn’t able to be at all those week night contests. I would love to have been there for everyone.

And I missed most of his weekend camping trips with his Scout Troop because I had to work most weekends. But those weekend work days made it possible to send him to a great high school. He loved St X, and the teachers and programs helped make Richard into the fine young man he became. So I owe them my gratitude too. And his Scout Leaders led him to Eagle Scout. More to be thankful for. But we still had a lot of fun together. He never became the surly disrespectful person so many teens turn into.

I’m grateful we had our kids. They taught me what love is all about. They made me a totally different – and much improved – person than what I was so many years ago. And Richard was a huge part of that.

So yes, finding reasons for thanks is a hard thing. It takes work.

About a year before Richard’s death, an employee of one of our on-site vendors lost his entire family in an auto accident. His wife and three kids gone. My friend Kathy, who hasn’t had children yet, asked me, “If you knew you would lose them early like that, would it be worth so much pain? Would you still want to have them?” I told her I thought I would, but because I’d never had to face that kind of pain and couldn’t really imagine what it must be like, I didn’t know for sure.

I now live that pain. I know the answer. Yes I’d gladly have him again.  He was worth it.

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