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Photo Friday: Thanksgiving (photo that shows what it means to you)

I had a very difficult time coming up with a photo representing what Thanksgiving means to me. I've spent days asking myself the question. I know what it used to mean to me, and I have written about that in the past two days.

The other day I watched a program giving the history of Thanksgiving.... very very different than what schoolchildren are taught it is meant to be, and I presume not many adults know the real story behind it, either.

I like the idea of people gathering together to share their gratitude for the abundance in their lives. But, I also don't like the idea much that it should be held just one day a year. Perhaps life just passes us by so quickly that the moment arrives and leaves before we can say, thank you for that, friend.

I'm so full of gratitude that I am even alive that every breath is a blessing, and everything after that is like, WOW! including the bad stuff. For without the bad stuff, how easily we would forget to enjoy the ordinary. It's not like I go around life smiling from ear to ear. My mind knows this stuff the way I know how to spell my name. But, do I go around "feeling" my name as something to appreciate all the time? No. So even though I know how lucky I am, I am still much like anyone else when it comes to having feelings that are not always filled with thankfulness and joy.

I thought and thought about what does Thanksgiving mean to me. I wondered what picture I might have to represent it. Nothing would come to mind. I examined why. I rolled it around in my head. Thanksgiving means nothing to me at the moment. But why?  All the things it meant to me in the past, no longer apply.

And then, it dawned on me. This has been a very painful year. People I love have died.

Am I thankful they are dead? NO!
Am I filled with gratitude that they've gone on to heaven? NO!
Because they are not here with me.
No, I'm not glad they've gone on to heaven.

I ain't got no gratitude.

I can feel my Sunday school teacher waggling her finger at me right now, "Shame, shame for talking to God like that."

Yes, I am grateful they are no longer suffering. But, I am not thankful that it was only this one way that stopped their suffering.

Okay, so this isn't a cheerful posting. A thoughtful one maybe. A truthful one because these are my exact feelings.

But, definitely a hopeful one.

I am thankful that my son-in-law was accidentally diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer.
I am thankful that it is one of the "easy" kinds of Thyroid Cancer. The kind that has the very highest survival rate. Where have I heard that before? Okay, I'm not all that thankful. I'm thankful with an underlying uneasiness.
I am thankful for my daughter's knowledge and education which caused her to withdraw her husband from the scheduled surgical procedure to be done at their local well-meaning doctor and hospital.
I am thankful that she has the chutzpah to contact City of Hope, a prestigious cancer hospital, of finagle an appointment right away for her husband. He was scheduled to have his thyroid removed yesterday.

This year my daughter will not have thanksgiving
My grandkids will not have thanksgiving.
My great grandkids will not have thanksgiving.
Who would cook the turkey? Not me, I'm a seven hour drive from where they live and even if I got there, I wouldn't have the ability to put together a splendid meal. And who would eat it, anyways? Not my son-in-law, not my daughter, not my five grandkids. Of the four great grandkids, perhaps two are young enough that they would be able to enjoy it. Scott's mother is going to be by his side, along with his brothers and step-mother. They wont be cooking, nor eating much but a sandwich or whatever they can grab it at the hospital.

Thanksgiving has been put on hold this year. I think we will all be holding our collective breath until next year when he has recovered from surgery and had his radioactive iodine isotope treatments.

Still I am thankful that my daughter has such a wonderful man for a husband, that my grandkids have a great daddy and my great grandkids have a wonderful grandpa!


  1. OH Elizabeth. I am so thankful for you in my life. I LOVE that you say it how it is, no hold barred ~ and you vent those feelings that many of us experience but somehow don't always feel we can say.

    There is much I am not thankful for this year too (the loss of dear friends to Chondrosarcoma or other cancers amongst them), but what keeps me going is my grandchildren. Someimes I look at them in all their youthful perfection, and so full of energy ~ and I marvel at them. They are the future. And just as my beloved grandfather died (1908 ~ 10th December 2008)to make way for future generations, so I will one day too. It is all part of the circle of life ~ and I am ease with that.

    However, what is so very hard to accept is when people (or animals) die too soon (although there never seems a right time). But one day, I hope we will all get together again (somewhere, somehow) and there will be such a party ... and for that I am thankful.

    love Jan xx

  2. Your post brought tears to my eyes...I remember feeling that way when my dad was diagnosed with cancer six years ago. The holidays are not the same without him...or my grandma, who passed away almost three years ago. Thanksgiving and Christmas were always so much more special when she was around and I wish I could make the holidays as special as they were to me when I was little...but I can't. All I can do is do my best. Personally the holidays have lost their true meaning with all of the commercialism that we have now. I have often had to remind people what it is about. Sorry for rambling.
    I am thankful for your honesty and that you have joined in the Photo Fridays. I will keep your son in law in my prayers.

  3. Your posts, both brought tears to my eyes, too. Thank you for sharing your deep thoughts with me. The general meaning of giving thanks may have melted away. But, it looks like it still lives in our hearts.

  4. Hi Elizabeth. This is my first time visiting your blog and I have to say that your thanksgiving post puts mine to shame! I was being all flippant about it. I every much enjoyed your heartfelt post though.

    Tracey (www.lifeisfullofnuts.wordpress.com) (I use my cat's blogger login)


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