Preparing To Give Thanks While Grieving

Every little thing reminds me of him.

From seeing a box of frosted flakes to matching pairs of socks to lounging on the couch and watching tv. For the most part, I’m clinging to every memory – desperate for them to replay over and over, and waiting for a new one to fill me at any given moment. Unfortunately, since my emotions aren’t balanced, there are those times that it hurts me to remember him. With hope, I’m longing for the day that the memory of Christiano will bring me joy and comfort in place of tears and heartache. I don’t like that remembering him is, often times, associated with more pain than pleasure. 

This past Sunday evening, I had to go to the grocery store to do some shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. I had been dreading it, but I knew that time was running out, and it had to be done. This was only my third time being at the grocery store since my son went to heaven and only my first time going by myself. Like I wrote earlier, everything reminds me of him, but food seems to be a biggie. Christiano loved all food, and I enjoyed cooking for him because he was always so grateful. He would constantly tell me what a great cook I was, and when I’d come home with groceries each week, he’d be so excited to see what I got. Frosted flakes and Oreos always won his heart and caused him to say, ‘Thanks, Mom. You’re the best!’ Walking by all of his favorite foods posed a slight challenge for me, but nothing  compared to the task of picking out our Thanksgiving turkey. As I lifted it up to put it in the carriage, memories of Thanksgiving past flooded my mind and led me to Thanksgiving future almost instantaneously. But, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t see our Thanksgiving table without Christiano sitting there, and  I still can’t. I can’t hear a Thanksgiving football game on the tv without him commentating. I can’t taste a pumpkin pie that he won’t get to eat. I can’t smell the yummy food without him asking when dinner will be done. I can’t feel him at all because he won’t be here. How can this be? I want to wake up from this awful nightmare and go back to the way things were. I want to pick my son up from school on Wednesday, give him the biggest hug and tell him about all the festivities we’ve got planned for the week. I don’t want this anymore. I just want my baby boy back. 

Just the shopping for this upcoming holiday broke my heart all over again. Things seem ‘back to normal’ for so many, and I wonder, ‘Will we ever be back to normal?’ Will we ever just move on? I know we will never get over this, but sometimes it feels like we won’t even make it through. I don’t ‘see’ how we will go on, but deep in my heart there’s a knowing – a knowing that God is helping us, a knowing that we can do this through Him, a knowing that He is embracing Christiano this holiday season, and that somehow and someway, He is embracing us, too. We ask our friends to pray for us as we come upon our first holiday without our Christiano.   

Some Good News: Uncle Shane and Auntie Jess will be joining us this year! The kids are excited and welcoming the change. My brother and his wife will be a great addition to our table, and we are happy they’ll be here with us this Thanksgiving. 

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