A Thanksgiving List

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1.  I don’t really want to talk too much about this topic, and sometimes lists are easier to use for things like that.  Lists make hard things easy.

2.  I’m not excited about Thanksgiving this year.  In fact, I’ve been dreading it for over a month now.

3.  Everything right now is focused on being thankful and family and cooking with loved ones.  I don’t feel thankful, my family feels incomplete, and I can’t imagine cooking on Thanksgiving morning without my dad.

4.  My mom and sister will be in Atlanta with family, and we are going to be here at our house with Chris’s family.  Truthfully, I’m kind of glad I won’t be with my family (sorry guys…).  I think that would be harder somehow.  Without anyone being here, I think it might almost feel like everyone is just at my sister’s house, including my dad.

5.  For the past month, I’ve gone back and forth about how to make Thanksgiving Day easier.  I’ve thought about going to Chris’s mom’s house instead of being here, about cooking my dad’s food, about NOT cooking my dad’s food, about ordering pizza.  So far, drinking pumpkin beer and stuffing my face with pecan pie has been the only choice that seems any kind of appealing.  And even that doesn’t sound great.

6.  Chris finally agreed to do something completely untraditional for Thanksgiving, so we’re going to Universal Studios for the day.

7.  At first, I thought that was a great idea, but the closer the holiday gets, the more I think maybe we need an actual Thanksgiving meal.  I do love leftovers.  More than leftovers, I do have a lot to be thankful for.

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8.  Maybe that’s what I need to remember.  That you can be thankful even when your heart is heavy.  That you can be grateful for those around you while mourning those who have gone on.  That you can be blessed beyond all you deserve, even when you don’t feel like saying thank you.  Maybe hiding in a theme park isn’t so much an answer as it is an excuse.

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23 thoughts on “A Thanksgiving List

  1. for different reasons, i feel much the same about the upcoming holidays. it can be tough to find the bright spots but i think, through your list, you did just that. no matter how you spend the day, i hope your heart feels full and at peace.

  2. Definitely understand! Lost my father in law last year about a month after being married. He was a second father to me since I dated my husband since high school. All the holidays seemed off to celebrate and be happy.. its all about new traditions and cherishing what you have. (plus a little help with wine) Best of luck!

  3. Katie, my husband and i both lost a parent this past year. There is no right way to go forward, holidays included. Maybe just get through it the best that you can, have that beer and pie and see how it goes. Remember, we are thinking about you and yours and I am thankful you write this blog.

  4. Trish D

    My dad passed away suddenly..much like yours did. The first Christmas..first everything was awful. We tried to switch things around so it would be different…but, that seemed to make it that much worse. No matter what you do…the loss is going to be felt. But, you know this already. Do whatever you want to do to get through the day. If you want leftovers…why not cook on Friday?..that way you’ll have leftovers for the week ahead. Or…my personal favorite would be to order pizza and drink beer…watch SEC sports all weekend 😉

  5. Jen

    I too faced a similar predicament several years ago. My grandpa passed away about a month before thanksgiving, and we worried about having my gran host the festivities like she does every year. For some reason we still can’t figure out, we let a kooky uncle of mine make reservations for us at one of his favorite restaurants for our thanksgiving meal. It was not good (after weighing my options, I ordered an omlet…). But bad food aside, the meal felt terrible. Not only were things so out of the ordinary because my grandpa wasn’t there, we weren’t at home, which felt even worse. Needless to say, no one even questioned whether gran would host Christmas that year, and the holiday went much better. Every family is different, but I thought it might be worthwhile to share my experience. Praying for y’all. (Ps, th silver lining is that we now laugh about that thanksgiving and think of it with some fondness.)

  6. Beanie and Gracie's Nana

    I think Jen’s advice is spot on! In trying to get away from your family’s traditional Thanksgiving Day at home, I fear you may feel the emptiness even more accutely at an amusement park away from home and surrounded by familiar things.

  7. Alex

    Hugs. I hope you will figure out the best plan for you to cope with a loaded holiday. Also, as someone on the outside but with some similar personality traits, I hope you can, in a sense, give yourself permission to feel this way. Of course this holiday will be different than any other, so it’s ok to have way different feelings about it than usual. I’ll be thinking of you.

  8. shawny

    The first Christmas and Thanksgiving without my grandpa was horrific for me.I didnt celebrate ,smile,or decorate or even cook.All I did was cry.I didnt eat or want presents ,my husband opened mine.I didnt give gifts or cards I was in my bad very dark place.The only thing that brought me out was the birth of my twins the day after christmas that very year.We had 3 very hard family losses that year and to end it on a happy note was so freeing.I know how you feel and as the years go by the holidays will be happy again.Take care.

  9. Sara

    Katie, don’t pressure yourself to feel or to do anything -without let your feelings bubble up authentically, and follow them. Thinking of your family this holiday season!

  10. Today my family buried my sweet aunt, who died at age 50. I find comfort in your posts about your dad, knowing that my cousins are going to be experiencing the same feelings that you feel without a father, only they without a mother. I am going to pass your blog on to my cousin because I think she will find comfort in the way you express your true feelings. I know it is comforting to me. Thank you for always being so open and honest.

  11. Hilda

    I have to agree strongly with Jen and your mom on this one. Years ago, I had to spend Christmas all by myself and another year Thanksgiving on the road. Both times I told myself that I would just not do anything traditional, pretend it was an ordinary day and just tough it out. Awful, really awful decision!
    You lost your dad and that is especially hard on those family days. But if you take all the other happy things away from you on top of that loss, it will be even harder. My suggestion would be to compromise. Maybe cook a nice and festive meal ahead of time, go to Universal Studios for part of the day so you don’t have to spend all day at home and then come home to a really nice dinner with Chris’s family and enjoy it.

  12. Morgan

    Hi! I find myself trying to “like” your photos as if I’m on Facebook.

    Is there a way you can do both? Go to Universal AND eat turkey?

  13. Chanon

    Universal Studios sounds like fun. And remember that Bob Evans has a really nice priced turkey dinner that’s just heat and serve with no work involved. :-)

  14. John

    The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
    and no torment shall touch them.
    They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead;
    and their passing away was thought an affliction
    and their going forth from us, utter destruction.
    But they are in peace.
    For if to others, indeed, they seem punished,
    yet is their hope full of immortality;
    Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed,
    because God tried them
    and found them worthy of himself.
    As gold in the furnace, God proved them,
    and as sacrificial offerings God took them to himself.
    In the time of their judgment they shall shine
    and dart about as sparks through stubble;
    They shall judge nations and rule over peoples,
    and the LORD shall be their King forever
    Those who trust in him shall understand truth,
    and the faithful shall abide with him in love:
    Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones,
    and his care is with the elect.

    – Wisdom 3:1-6, 9

  15. I understand how you feel about Thanksgiving. In 2009, I lost my son, Andy, to a neuromuscular disease. Facing the holidays without him were just to hard, so my husband and I tried to skip them. We spent Thanksgiving at the beach that year. The funny thing was, the farther I ran, the more I wanted to be at home.

  16. We’ll be at Universal that day too! Can’t wait to see the Harry Potter part of the park, and maybe we’ll see you too. :)

  17. The holidays are so hard after someone passes away. You just carry that weight in your heart all day. I’ll be thinking of you and your family, and I agree…the pumpkin beer thing sounds like a perfect idea to me!

  18. I have been feeling the same way. My father died unexpectedly about 2 weeks ago, and we are all a bit apprehensive about Thanksgiving. We always have had it at his parent’s house, with his siblings .It is going to be hard to be with people who I love who are hurting in such similar but different ways from me. Where he was their brother and son, he was my daddy. My family has decided to do a blend of tradition and new, where we spend Thanksgiving with family, then the rest of the weekend on our own elsewhere. I hope it works out.

  19. Katy

    I am also dreading Christmas because my dad won’t be there. I feel very far removed from everyone, including my boyfriend, who are so excited about this time of year. But you’re right – there is so much to be thankful for, and it is worth celebrating despite the sadness. The beer plan sounds like a good one :-)

  20. Joyce Wade

    Remember the good times in your heart – be thankful for your beautiful children and great husband. Start your own family traditions – you will be great. Hugs to ya’ll.

  21. Lissa

    The first year is just so awful…so many anniversaries. The memories you make this Thanksgiving will be strong ties that will bind you still closer to your family….here and in heaven.

  22. Sarah

    i hope you find a peaceful day with your family next week. :)

  23. Thinking of you guys this week…in the heartache and the thankfulness.

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