Happy Thanksgiving, but Also Sad (and that’s OK)


Since this video is of Johnny Cash playing a Thanksgiving Prayer on the show Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (which takes place in Wyoming), I thought it would be àpropos to post some photos of Wyoming.  I am very thankful for my ties to Wyoming, for this thick rope holds family, friends, memories, and a deep love for the landscape.  I met my husband in Wyoming and our anniversary is coming up this Friday.  We were married twice.  The first time we were married, my father had cancer and we had a small ceremony in my parents bedroom so my father could walk me down the aisle. The second time we were married was an outdoor wedding in July 2004. This is a post about the story of my wedding dress and how it was made, called The Dress and the Snake.

My father and I on my wedding day, November 23, 2003

My father was not able to get out of bed though.  Nonetheless, he was able to be present.  He was very lucid.  It was a beautiful day; there was a blizzard the night before and a thick blanket of snow covered the streets, sparkling like crystals.  My friend from California came out and said it looked like “a magical fairy land of sugary sparkles.”

That’s me and Mae — my friend from California (in front of Mabel — the stuffed lion) before the ceremony.

November is a difficult month for me since there are many emotions I feel.  I can’t help but think of my dad.  My mother now is in a nursing home and her health is not good.  She always made such an amazing Thanksgiving dinner, complete with relish trays, cheese trays, and an assortment of nuts — complete with a nutcracker.  My parents decked their house out with Christmas decorations.

I love the snow. This photo is from our 2010 trip to Wyoming and Colorado over Thanksgiving

It was always very special and wonderful to be surrounded by my family.  Now things have changed.  My mother is in a nursing home in Colorado. My father is in Heaven and my husband and me live on the East Coast.  What does remain the same is the memories and love.  I am very thankful for it all.

Photos from my wedding

Thanksgiving fell that year the Thursday after we got married.  We bought a meal cooked by the grocery store and all got food poisoning.  Not fun.

Have a great Thanksgiving.  May the force be with you if you need it.

I wish I was in Wyoming to see my people. This photo is from two years ago when I went home for Thanksgiving.

Your friend is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
 Kahlil Gibran

My mom was very healthy, considering her brain tumors (which she had in 2003 and was diagnosed with brain tumors in 2000 and had brain surgery the same year), at my wedding.  I wish I could go back in time, but I can’t.  This is part of the cycle.  I have the memories and the love.  This I am thankful for.

My beautiful mom. I am thankful for this moment, which is chiseled in my heart.

I am thankful for my family. I have a son now.  This beautiful two and half year old.  This little bundle of energy who is speaking now in complete sentences, no longer toddler gibberish.  This is part of the cycle. I am thankful.  I know many of you may be struggling with your own problems and heartaches (aren’t we all).  My heart and prayers go out to all bleeding hearts on Thanksgiving.  I think the holidays are very hard.  I find joy in them, but I also feel very sad around this time of year.  And that reminds me of a quote my mom would always say, and she could never get it out without crying.

“The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” – Kahlil Gibran

On Joy and Sorrow
 Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Kamilah, Kahlil's mother
Kamilah, Kahlil’s mother. Painting by Kahlil Gibran

My dad stopping to smell the roses. This photo gives me such joy.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with love and laughter, but also honor the tears and heartache for the ones you will not see at the table this year.  Many people have lost loved ones and it is hard, especially if this is your first Thanksgiving without them.

This is my family and I am thankful.

2 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving, but Also Sad (and that’s OK)

  1. Your a blogger I can’t forget, not after your moving post about your wedding in your parents’ bedroom. And this is moving and well – your honest is refreshing; as well as not reading another “turkey” feast post. I too am grateful for what I have two little boys and my husband. But my mother too at 94 is not well. She is still living at home, and I have those woonderful memories of big thanksgivings. My boys don’t know that; we spend thanksgiving with her, and go out to dinner. It’s all we can handle. Holidays can be difficult when you don’t have a lot of family to be there for you. Where are you on the east coast? I’m on Long Island but before marrying lived in NYC for many years.

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    • A Writer Weaves a Tale,

      Please tell me your name?

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, turkey is fun, but food is story and the stories are woven into other stories, aren’t they? What I really wish I could do, is time travel back and come downstairs of my parents’ house in Cheyenne, to the smell of my mother’s turkey and stuffing in the oven, hear the Christmas music my mother always had on while she cooked and sit in the breakfast nook with morning light streaming in, grab a cup of coffee and sit and chat with my mom while she chain smoked.

      I know about going to dinner. We did that a couple times when it was too much for my mom to cook when she lived at home. Sometimes it is the best thing to not have to stress over the big meal. My mom made it seem effortless when she made the holiday meals, right down to the beautiful china she set the table with. We are going to my in-laws today. It will be nice.

      I live near Raleigh, North Carolina. How interesting to be from NYC! My mother is a New Yorker; she grew up there and then moved to Evanston. My grandmother moved to NYC at the age of 28 in 1926 to pursue a career in the food industry. She worked for Alice Foote MacDougall, Schrafft’s, Bird’s Eye, and General Foods as an executive chef. I miss her as well during the holidays. You might enjoy this book project I am working on as it is about my great-grandmother’s and grandmother’s food business: http://www.evanstoncommunitykitchen.wordpress.com.

      Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it.

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