Thursday, November 19, 2015

Remembering Thankfulness

Normally by this time of year our fall leaf list tree has lost most of its leaves (meaning we've worked our way through most of our fall to-dos)...

...and is beginning to fill up with thankful turkeys (hand print turkeys with one thing we're thankful for, written on each).

Last year, November snuck (or sneaked for you non-American/Canadian readers) up on us, and we decide to save crafting time by re-using turkeys from previous years - recycling thankfulness.

We might have done the same thing this year, except we got the call around the first of November, that my step-father, the children's grandfather, was nearing the end of his struggle with Alzheimer's.  I decided to make last second trip out to Oregon to spot my mother and step-sister, who were doing the heavy work of staying by his side in nursing home and hospice care. 

I arrived in time to spend a few hours with Grandpa, and had the privilege of being there to see him off.  His passing was calm and peaceful, and unlike the last few months of his struggle with the disease - easy.  I was very thankful.

The Man of the House drove out with the children for the funeral, and returned home with them, while I remained on another week to help my mother sort through the details of life as a widow once again.

All this to say, that I returned this week to a fall tree somewhat too full of undone leaves, and completely devoid of thankful turkeys.

Somehow this year, our usual thankful turkeys covered with frivolous, though heartfelt, thanks for things like  "hot chocolate" and "teddy bears" didn't seem sufficient. 

I'm thankful my children had a loving grandfather, even though my own father did not live to see them.
We're thankful his fight with a horrible disease is over.
We were thankful the faithful pastors and church family who extended a great deal of love and compassion to my mother and visiting family.
We were thankful for the safety we all had in traveling to and from every corner of the country.
We're thankful for Grandpa's love for Christ - so that we can repeat the words of Paul with confidence: "Death where is your victory?  Death where is your sting?"

With those thoughts in mind, I decided this year to fill our turkey tree with thankful memories, one for each day from November 1st through Thanksgiving, by cutting, pasting, and printing clip-art hand print turkeys, with pictures of the children with their grandfather.

They are good memories, memories he lost for a time, but now has back I'm sure, as he's been restored in Christ - and for that we are all very thankful.


Natalie PlanetSmartyPants said...

This is a beautiful take on Thanksgiving turkeys. I am sorry for your loss!

Rach said...

Very sweet, thank you for sharing a glimpse. I am sorry for your loss, especially while he suffered with Alzheimer's.

Ticia said...

Excuse me, I must have been cutting onions because right now there's tears falling out of my eyes.

I love your turkeys this year, and I know what you mean. Sometimes those little things we're thankful for seem so little. I'm having a week like that.

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

What a sweet way to celebrate the life of a loved one.

Phyllis said...

What a lovely tradition.