November 24, 2010

A Thanksgiving Past

"We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning".  ~Albert Barnes

Sometimes time makes me forget.

Many years ago I had the worst Thanksgiving of my life.

I was newly divorced and my children were taken by their father, out of town, to visit his family.

My youngest son did not want to go without me and was hiding behind the clean clothes hanging in the laundry room screaming as his dad pulled him out to take him.

I cannot explain the difficulty or pain that we were all feeling (including his four siblings) on different levels that day.  (It was over a dozen years ago and yet still brings tears to my eyes as I type the words.)

When they arrived at their destination he called me and asked, "When are you coming?"
(That was before cell phones and I didn't get one until years after they came out anyway).

I just had to reassure him with an artificial, positive voice,  through a silent, crying heart, with tears running down my cheeks, that I would see them as soon as they got back and remind him how much I loved him.

I then hung up the phone, climbed into bed, didn't shower or even get out of my pajamas (although it was mid-day), and cried and cried and cried.
And probably screamed too.

I stayed that way for a couple of days with no shortage of heartache or tears.

I wanted to know the answer to Freddy Fender's questioning song, "How do you mend a broken heart?"

Somehow it came.

Slowly at first I'm sure.

It started with the realization that I would have missed having a Thanksgiving dinner.

Although I was in a major dysfunctional state to put it mildly, and declined every request from loving people to join them for dinner, thinking that food was the last thing I felt like, I would soon come to find that I was wrong.

Loving people brought food to me even though I had said not to.  (This is making me teary-eyed also.)
They just dropped it off as I was an emotional eye-sore in the condition I was in.

I could not tell you all who did, but I can tell you it made a difference in how I felt about Thanksgiving from there on out.

I honestly can't say that the food was great because I don't remember whether it was or not, and maybe it didn't even taste good with my numb heart taste buds.
What I can tell you is that I felt loved and hugged by a plate(s) of food.

Something I so desperately needed during that time.
(A side note:  if you know of someone in a similar situation-drop a plate by.  Don't expect a visit, unless invited, but the gesture is unexplainable and long lasting.)

I knew it was going to be that way from there on out, so I decided to accept and change my mind about how I was going to deal with it.
(Remember, I had a whole year until the next time and it never did quit hurting completely.)

First, was in counting my blessings.
My children would always be with me on Christmas so Thanksgiving was an easier sacrifice.

Second, I didn't have to clean, cook, spend money or 'play nice' for any people I was uncomfortable with.

Third, I wanted to find a way to "be there" with them so I devised a plan.
I am infamous in my family for my dinner rolls, so every year following, I would make some and send them with them.
It was a pretty magical experience as I felt a tremendous amount of love while making something I had done numerous times before. 
Knowing where they were going and what they represented changed directions of a "simple act".

(This year I sent some unbeknownst to my son who will not be home with family for the first Thanksgiving in his life.)

Fourth, I had a chance to work uninterrupted on a project and usually completed it.

Fifth, I had a lot to be thankful for and good friends were one of those things.
I had some good friends who invited me over with other "strays"as I called us, even though complete families went also.
So for the next decade I went to their house, taking my rolls of course, learning that family are people who love and accept you even though you have never met them before and may never see them again.
(I am a little a lot embarrassed to admit that when their father quit taking them, it took some adjusting on my part to do a "family" dinner again.)

Sixth, is that love has no boundaries and transcends all.  No matter where my family was and is my love is the same.

Seventh, that healing is possible.  I am a living testimony of that.  Someone, who at one point had no desire to live.

And finally, that Thanksgiving should be given every day as I am blessed with God's tender mercies EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.  ~Edward Sandford Martin
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."  ~Melody Beattie


  1. Thank you for sharing this with us. I'm so glad people were there for you and that your heart is on the mend. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  2. It was heartbreaking to read your post because I could totally relate to and understand what it's taken to get you where you are now. I'm also a testament that healing does take place!

    Thank you for your wonderful comments on my blog. I appreciate them so much!

  3. Hi, Reyna! Just a suggestion, if you don't mind, and you don't have to publish this comment. Because I noticed your About Me and you refer to your January 29 post, so people don't have to look up your January 29th archive, you can just easily create a link which people can easily click. The code goes like this:
    January 29

    All you have to do is copy from < to the last >. Hope this helps. I am no expert about html but if you have further questions, just shoot me an email.


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