Giving Thanks For The Memories

Sometimes I feel silly that I’m still talking about the loss of my Grandpa. Grandpas are supposed to die! It’s part of life. I imagine somewhere, someone is reading and thinking “get over it! At LEAST YOU HAD A GRANDPA!”
I knew that he’d not be around forever, I knew one day I’d have to say good bye. But I had no idea how profound the loss of his presence in my life would be. There was no way to grasp how deeply it would hurt until he was gone.
This was our second Thanksgiving without my Grandfather.
Last year was hard. I was still very much grieving his death as he had only passed away a month earlier. It was the first time in my entire adult life that his chair was empty at the dinner table. It was the first time there wasn’t anyone screaming “where’s the turkey neck?” It was the first time I didn’t get to wrap my arms around his neck and tell him Happy Thanksgiving.
This Thanksgiving, I didn’t cry. Not a single tear was shed. Didn’t mean that I missed him any less than I did last year. Last Thanksgiving I was too caught up in the grief of the loss to feel anything other than sadness. This year the finality of his absence in my life smacked me straight in the heart. But so did the gratitude for having been blessed with 37 wonderful years with my him in my life.
How lucky I was.
How lucky I continue to be.
I may not ever hear his laughter again, I may not ever hug him again. I may never see his smile again. But I understand now that I can still carry the memories, the love, the laughter with me throughout the rest of my life. It’s different not having him around to share those things with, but the memories are magical in their own way.
I’ve have finally come to peace with his death and for that, I am truly grateful.
Proof that taking a family photo for christmas cards is kind of going to suck.
The Family, Thanksgiving, 2009

23 thoughts on “Giving Thanks For The Memories

  1. JenniferB

    That is seriously an awesome photo — loving, silly, and all together! I routinely say that I’ll take pictures with the kids (instead of just of them) as soon as I put on makeup, etc., but I just don’t do it. I promise I’ll take more pictures that show that I love my kids and we are a happy family — thanks for reminding me (maybe accidentally, natch) that I need to do that!

  2. Louise

    I love this photo.
    And I miss my grandma every single New Year. She’s been gone for almost 4 years now (in January) and every time the Christmas Holidays are approaching I get this bittersweet feeling.

  3. DiaryofWhy

    You’re 7 feet tall!! Just kidding. :) This is a great picture of all of you.
    I’m 29 and both my grandpas are gone, so I am always a little envious of anyone who got to spend time with their grandparents into their adulthood. Glad you’re in a good place now. :)

  4. Candace

    Sweetheart – you look /fantastic/. I know you feel discouraged at times with the weight, but you really, really look great.

  5. Vera

    First of all, I am so sorry for your loss, I know it doesn’t help much, but still. My grandpa died three years ago, but two years before that, right after I had my son, his personality changed completely, and I feel like that’s when we lost him. It sounds like your grandpa was himself until the very end, and for that you really are lucky.
    Second, YOU LOOK AMAZING!!! And how sweet, your daughter let you braid her hair :)

  6. Maria

    I think it’s okay if you always want to talk about him.
    This is my first year hitting the holidays without Grandpa. It’s hard at the weirdest times, and never when I’d expect it.
    Happy Thanksgiving, lady.

  7. Kelly

    Soo, I’m a longtime reader, first time commenter. Is that creepy? I hope not. Anyways, I just wanted to tell you a couple things:
    1. Your writing makes me laugh and sometimes cry. I think it’s because you’re honest and real. I like it.
    2. In that Thanksgiving photo you just posted? Girl, you look FANTASTIC. Seriously, I mean that in a completely non-creepy way. You’ve worked hard and it totally shows.
    So. This ends my first-ever blog comment. Yay!

  8. Cristin

    This is my first Thanksgiving without my Pop-pop. I was never that close to him but I was extremely emotional when I found out about his passing. Funny how grief happens.
    PS. Look at your skinny self! My endocrinologist upped my Synthroid and I lost 6 lbs. Woohoo! Stupid Hashimoto’s!

  9. Melissa

    I totally love that photo….it seriously would make a great holiday card. The fun of Christmas and families – the lighthearted side. Of course, I’m sure some relative (at least in my family) would be offended that it wasn’t a perfectly posed shot. Blah on them.
    Happy belated Thanksgiving!

  10. Cor

    I feel very comforted reading your post about your Grandpa. My Grandpa is 85 years old, both he and my Grandma are still with me. I am 34 years old and I realize how lucky I am. They live 3 hours away (including a 2 hour ferry ride) so I only see them a few times a year, but every time I leave I am so sad because I know I may never see them again. They have been such a huge part of my life and I credit every ounce of goodness in me to them. I know I will feel very similar to you when either of them go. I feel like you are foretelling my future.
    Oh, and
    Screw the haters.

  11. chrissylas

    Your family is awesome! I love that picture :)
    I’m terrified of losing my grandparents (especially my grandma). I don’t talk to her often but love her more than almost anyone else in the world. Hopefully after that happens (although I’m holding on to the idea that she is going to live forever because she is secretly immortal) I reach the same point you have.

  12. Beth

    I love this photo of your wonderful family. I especially love how you seem to be looking at them with amusement and love. Thanks for sharing this! :-)

  13. Lyndsey

    You look awesome!
    Also? This photo is great!! I love how the boys are all photo-serious like, Hey there is a camera we should smile for it and the two girls (you and G) are being a little silly. :)

  14. Issa

    I am lucky. I got the chance to know all of my grandparents. I’ve lost them all in the past six years and frankly it sucks. I am so grateful for the time though.
    One thing I tell people when they say, well at least you knew yours, is that yes, while that is true, I know what I’m missing as well.

  15. Sara

    I’m sorry for your loss but glad to find you’re finding a peace in it. I lost my grandpa unexpectedly on Friday after spending Thanksgiving with him and the rest of our humongous family – he was playing cards, making jokes, and batting around a balloon with my kids and 24 hours later an aneurism killed him in a flash. I feel a huge loss and also frustration that I know people don’t quite understand – sure, grandpas die, I was lucky to have him for 35 years – but that means this puts a 35 year deep hole in my heart.

  16. Denise

    I missed this post earlier. I’m so happy for you that you have found peace. I felt so badly for you when you lost your grandpa, because it was very evident how much you loved him and vice versa. I suggest making a memory journal…whenever you remember a moment with him write it down so you can treasure it forever. Or you could always share it here, too!

  17. kim

    Carrie, I’m so sorry for your loss, and for those of everyone else (yours is just so brand new.) I lost my Papa two weeks before my wedding, and Thanksgiving was his holiday. It’s been 4 years but we all still miss him. I lost my Nana 5 months after my first child, and she was all about Christmas… I start missing her right about now. It gets easier, but you’re right. We are truly blessed to have them with us so long, but it also means they are that much more a part of our lives. YOu just have to love them all you can while they’re still here.

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