14 years ago today, I lost my best friend. One minute she was there, one minute she was gone. There are details about the day that will never leave my memory, and as painful as they are, that’s okay. The hard things need to be remembered. This time of year is always difficult for me. It’s difficult for her family. It’s difficult for family friends, for those who knew her as a very smart 7th grader. 14 years later and some of those wounds get reopened still. It happens.
Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings. You’re supposed to be thankful for what you have and not focusing on what you’ve lost – but isn’t that harder for some than others? For families who don’t get their children back? For friends who endlessly wonder if different decisions on one day would have resulted in different outcomes? It’s easy to get bogged down in the grief. But most years, Thanksgiving passes with remembrance of her, and of others I’ve lost along the way like my cousin Ray.
The holidays are a great time in most regards, but they also bring up feelings of sadness. Seats around a table but you can’t stop looking at the one that’s empty. I guess what I’m getting at here is that the good times should be remembered too. People I loved lived, for as long as they could, and during that time they had very full lives. They had experiences, and memories, and I can only hope that they left the world having some comfort that there were so many people that adored them.
I’m making a quick list of some things I’m thankful for right now. To help myself, and maybe others, to remember that life continues and can still be good.
- Having my family keep their traditions around holidays and getting to see everyone
- Decorating my apartment for Christmas and knowing I can put things wherever I want them
- My boyfriend for being generally amazing
- Hot cocoa in any forms
- The snow that I just noticed is falling RIGHT NOW
- My dog, Bella, and all the sweaters she wears
- New books
- The opportunities I’ve had to get my writing out into the world, even if its just a few times a week
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. Hug the people you really like a little tighter, and appreciate the moments while they happen around you. Everything only happens once.