I always feel silly for saying I’m thankful for something, but when it’s the truth…well, you can’t really argue with that. There are so many things to be thankful for, not just the good, but also the bad.
A lot of times, we tend to dwell only on the best parts of thankfulness, but we can’t forget the bad things that have happened that have shaped us. In my family, we’ve suffered a lot of tragedies, except we haven’t let it destroy us. The things we’ve been through have strengthened us and brought us closer together. It’s also warped our sense of humor, but that isn’t horrible either.
When the holidays start gaining momentum with the threat of steamrolling right over me, I pause and look at my family. I see the pain and sadness etched into everyone’s faces as we realize there are many of us not there. But instead of becoming morose and melancholy, we band together and laugh with each other, remembering our loved ones. The holidays become a way for us to exorcise our ghosts, even as they sit with us, our memories of them as alive as ever.
I feel sad the newest generation never met those we lost, but they live on through the stories we share about them. Sometimes our memories are so clear, the kids feel as though they knew their great-grandfather, a great-uncle, two cousins, and another uncle. It doesn’t matter they’ve never met those people because they’re a part of everything we do.
And that’s what I’m thankful for: the memories of those we’ve lost and the chance to share them with the next generation. We’ll always remember the silly things and bring them up. We’ll always wonder what they would have said about how things have changed in the world and in the family. We’ll laugh at the silly things they said or did.
They’re never forgotten, especially at this time of year.