I think it has been 10+ years since I have been in Texas for Thanksgiving. My parents have always had my brother there to cook for them and spend the holiday , however as many of you know, My brother took his own life in the early morning hours this past spring. He was only 38 years old.
I don't know how to explain what his act of desperation has done to my small (now smaller) family since then.
My daughters wish they had met their uncle, though, they don't know his name.
My older children remember him, however had very little relationship to the man I spoke of, however never really spoke to.
My concern now, is for those left behind.
My mother mourns her son, that bond between a mother and her son is something that can't be explained.
My father that lost his son and the only person to carry on his family name.
My nieces that will forever be changed by the loss of the their father, because as strong as the bond is between mother and son, so is the bond between father and daughter.
So this Thanksgiving, I will go home.
- To the home my brother, sister and I grew up in.
- I will regal my parents with stories of the 'new' life that sits before them in 10+ grandchildren.
- Sit with my sister and have some wine while bouncing my nephew on my knee.
- I will show my kids a home that is very similar to the one they are raised in here in Colorado.
- Enjoy a meal with my family, my brother's widow and her family.
Hoping that my parents don't notice the ghost in the room that will be join us at some point.
Tips for making it through:
- Remember to take care of yourself.
- Other loved ones will be angry, it's part of the grieving process. Keep your heart open.
- Tradition! Make sure you stick with it, don't make too many changes.
- Plan for down time, everyone needs time to relax and get away from the chaos of family.
- It's okay to cry, before/during/after. Don't bottle it up.
We have to move on. There isn't a choice for us, we have families to raise, friends to make, parents to adore and take care of. Hope this Thanksgiving finds you all with more love than you had last year.