I grew up believing November in my home would always be about pumpkin pies, a house full of relatives, and plates of the usual Thanksgiving fare. Instead, we’ve run the gamut from joining friends to quiet days with just the four or five of us.
Four years ago November was the beginning of a brutal time in our family. I’ll forever remember the meal where the pain of an empty chair at the table we should have expected but didn’t blindsided us all. Tears flowed freely. Once the chair was removed, we had a little more peace, but not much. Over the next few months we’d have to navigate our loss, the waves of grief that pounded us all out of nowhere. My nuclear family was suffering with the feeling that no one else could comprehend what we were going through and that others would be quick to place blame.
We aren’t the only ones who have endured the pain of an empty chair at their Thanksgiving feast. Some will forever have a member missing. I’ve heard it described like missing a limb, like phantom pains after an amputation. The dynamics change and we move to a “new normal,” but we will forever limp or feel short of where we were.
No one handles grief the same way. And our season of grief had really started long before, with gossip and bitterness. It was a death of sorts that wove itself into the fabric of our season. At the same time, not all was dark…
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