Memories of Thanksgiving for many people include feasting on roasted turkey and dressing or watching football with friends and relatives. My Thanksgiving memories are a little different, though. I perceive Thanksgiving as a time of hope and restoration. This is my story.
My grandmother was an amazing woman. She was the cornerstone of my family and the pillars of our souls. Her love, encouragement, and strength created a foundation on which my family stood and thrived. Her life had not been easy, but out of the hardships she experienced, she became a very compassionate person and someone who always understood what was on your heart. But, during the June of 2006, Grandma lost her long battle with cancer. Suddenly, my family’s foundation was shaken to its core. Everyone was utterly devastated. I wondered what would become of us. How would we survive without the embrace of my grandmother’s loving arms?
The first Thanksgiving after her death was gravely approaching and everyone felt the weight of her absence. We knew what we were all thankful for: the time we had with my grandma and the legacy she left. But, we couldn’t bring her back. However, something incredible and unexpected occurred that November-something I didn’t think was possible. On Thanksgiving Day, as my family gathered at my aunt’s house and sat down at the table to eat our meal, I realized something. My grandma was still with us. More real than the food we ate or the centerpiece that adorned the table was the sense that Grandma’s spirit was drawing us together as a family still united in love and friendship. I realized that, although my grandma’s death had absolutely shaken and grieved us all, the love she had ingrained and nurtured inside our hearts left a foundation that yet remained. That Thanksgiving gave me hope. And every time I reflect on this Thanksgiving memory, I am infused with hope. This special day showed me that my family would survive and that restoration was possible. It showed me that, above all, love never fails.