I saw a post yesterday that said “Grief and gratitude can sit at the same table.” Wow. That’s probably exactly how I feel today.
I’m here with Vance’s family, my family.
And I’m so grateful. My in-laws helped make my husband into the person I fell in love with. They instilled values in him that he held until the day he died; loyalty, honesty, family, God.
My niece and nephew are some of the most loved people in our lives. Over the years, they’ve spent a lot of time with us, staying the night at random and always, always, together at all the holidays.
And so getting through this first of the major holidays since Vance died, I’m glad I’m here with these people. With his people. With our people.
At the same time, there is also so much to grieve.
Vance isn’t here to eat his mom’s dressing or ooey-gooey butter cake. He won’t throw a football or say a prayer or lay beside me tonight. He won’t make Whitters blush or Dev laugh. He won’t sit with his dad and chat or hug his momma good-bye when we leave. He won’t send the kids to bed or tell them to behave in the van. He didn’t get to see me sing karaoke for the first time in over 20 years. The reality of that brings me to tears.
The truth is, I just miss him. I miss his face. I miss his ridiculous laugh. His voice. But even more, I miss the way he balanced me. The way he encouraged me.
And for that I grieve, all the while grateful for the time we had and the family we have and the memories yet to be made. So, grief and gratitude sit here, side by side, this Thanksgiving, taking turns at the table. Bring both laughter and tears. Gratefulness and mourning. Together, like turkey and dressing.