The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving and Loss

This year has been a pretty tough one. First, my dad had quadruple bypass in January and struggled to get off the breathing machine. In July, my beloved PaPa passed away unexpectedly. He'd been sick the summer before but had been feeling really great lately, so his death caught us all off guard. And again in November, someone else in my family passed away very tragically.

So grateful to have my dad still kicking and healthier than he was before the surgery.

This girl will always have a PaPa sized hole in her heart.

This year has taught me a deeper understanding of thankfulness. I've always considered myself a thankful person. I'm not constantly striving for something new or wishing I had something I don't. I'm content in my life and so incredibly blessed by the people in it.

This is just a *small* sample of the people in my family 
(and these are only the ones on my generational level)

But I've kinda drifted along thinking the people in my life were invincible. My daddy and my PaPa have always been there. But this year, for a while, I really thought my dad might leave this world, and for reals, PaPa did. And it's weird to think I'm old enough to have the people in my life go, but I guess I am.

In truth, I was fortunate to have known my great-grandparents and grandparents. It wasn't until my 20s that my great-grandmother passed away. In fact, in my family, we had five living generations at once. A lot of people don't get that opportunity. I *know* I'm fortunate to have gotten the years I got.

Me, Mom, Mema, and MaMa (great-grandma)

If I missed an Easter or Thanksgiving, Mema used to always say, "What if this is PaPa's last Easter/Thanksgiving?" And while the thought shook me, I never really thought that any holiday would be PaPa's last. Because he was PaPa. Big, loud, larger than life. 

But it was. This past Easter was PaPa's last Easter. Last Thanksgiving *was* PaPa's last Thanksgiving. 

PaPa's last Thanksgiving--2016.
Oh what I'd give to hug his neck again this year.

PaPa's last Easter
Thumbs up, Papa!

So, I'll walk into Thanksgiving with my big ole Southern family and cherish every moment, every memory just a little bit more because this year has taught me just how fragile life really is. This time, I'll experiencing thankfulness punctuated by loss, and it's something just a little bit deeper than regular gratitude.

Remember to hold those you love just a little closer. Remember to really be present in the moment with your family. Make memories you can hold onto for a lifetime. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I can't even begin to explain how thankful I am for this wonderful man!

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