I wonder how many people are having the first Thanksgiving without someone that they love.
I wonder how many are feeling the weight of grief over gratitude on this day. This week. This year.
I wonder how many people have an empty chair at their table that they wish was filled.
I wonder if they could have had another holiday, if there was more that they would have said.
I wonder how many kitchens are missing an imperative piece of their family’s puzzle.
I want to let you know that you are not alone. I want to let you know that the first is beyond hard. Every bigger day is a reminder of a great loss. Every smaller day is still a reminder of a great loss. Joyful moments are sometimes still laced in sadness. And you wonder if there will be a time that they won’t be. Some days you tread on easily, some days you are submerged.
Last year it felt as though every holiday was defined as the first one where I was separated from my husband. It was treading through a new chapter on loss. It was looking for the comfort of someone’s eyes in a room that you know you weren’t going to find. This year is the first holiday season that I will not have my mother-in-law, my children will not have their Yia-Yia. We will all miss the feel of her in the room. It is a new chapter of firsts, a new chapter of hard.
I had a miscarriage years ago between my first and second babies and it happened in December. And that Christmas I remember what it felt like to not want to celebrate. I just wanted to be sad. I wasn’t ready to leave that space of isolating grief. I was chained to the type of sadness that you feel in your bones. I eventually became unshackled from it. But it was on my timeline, not by someone else’s definition of when we should box up our tears and smile and carry on. If you are in that space, it is okay. We do not want you to live there forever. But we do understand if you need this season of life to hold yourself for as long as you need to. And we are here if you need to be held by someone else.
So maybe we simply embrace this day for what it is.
We are grateful for what we still have.
We are grateful to have had something so beautiful to have lost.
And we mourn as long as we want to.
And we cry for as long as we need to.
And we hug a little longer. A little tighter.
And we remember.
And we push through pain. We no longer try to escape it. Or hide from it.
And we talk about small things that seemingly don’t matter: football games and pumpkin pie and whether or not the mashed potatoes need more butter (per Yia Yia: they always do).
And we know that these conversations and meals that once seemed small were so entirely big and meaningful.
And we let people cook for us and we bring the cheese tray.
And we let ourselves be taken care of.
And we know that one day that we will be the caretakers.
And we know that there is comfort in knowing that some years will be celebrated more than others.
And we are grateful.
And we are hopeful.
And we wish each other a happy holiday season and we mean it, though we wish for an even happier new year and we mean that more.
So wherever you find yourself this day, this week, this year, in a space of submersion or thriving, you are amazing. Take your time. But please don’t forget the amazing part.
I am grateful for you.
Cheers to you and all that there is to be thankful for today.
To read more blogs by Katie Moore click here.
Katie Yackley Moore is a freelance writer, yoga instructor and a momma of four navigating life and a separation and finding herself in the process. She adores coffee shops, laughing until it hurts and impromptu dance parties. Her work has appeared on Scary Mommy, Mamalode and HuffPost Parents. She has published a journal entitled “Dream a Bigger Dream” and the children’s books “You Are a Warrior” and “We are Family” and just finished her first novel. Catch up with her between tea breaks at The Naked Momma and on Facebook.