The theme in this grief journey has been finding gratefulness; intentionally examining my life and finding the things that God has graciously and abundantly given to me. There has never been a time, even in the worst of days, that I couldn’t find at least something to say a great big Thank You  about. Today is not any different. I’m overwhelmed with sorrow. There are two empty chairs at our thanksgiving table, each one leaving a big hole in the festivities and in our hearts. My sweet son won’t be joining us, covered in sweet potatoes and gravy. The dogs won’t be lying under his high chair just waiting for the next piece of half chewed food to drop. My loving mama won’t be telling her exaggerated stories. Her infectious laugh won’t fill the room. Those are huge things. Those are the biggest of losses to cope with on holidays. And yet there are always things to be thankful for.

I’ve been quiet today. I’m surrounded by family and all the hustle and bustle of meal prep and celebration, but I’ve been quiet. The truth is that I’m holding back tears. I’m anxious and sad but I’m also so full of gratefulness. God has given me a family that I love so dearly. I’m sure that as the day progresses the tears will be harder to hide but the laughter that always comes at family gatherings will likely disguise them a little bit. I’m sitting here while Audrey Nole naps, silently reflecting on all the emotions of this day. Missing my son and wishing he were here to have watched the parade with us. Wishing he were here to chase the dogs around the house and to bring those precious little baby giggles to the soundtrack of football, chopping, and dice rolling.

Days like today test my endurance in living for Jesus. I want to be, and in some ways I likely am, mad at God. I want to scream and shout and tell him how profoundly unfair it is that I’m missing anyone on this Thanksgiving. I want to make sure he knows how much I trusted that healing was coming for both my mama and my George Mason. I want him to know how disappointed in him I was when I had to say goodbye. I want him to know that the things he’s given that I’m so thankful for, don’t make up for the intense hurt I feel. Maybe I should? Maybe I should just yell and scream. The best part of my God is that he’s big enough to handle it. He can take it when I need a punching bag. He is more than mighty enough to let me scream and pout. He is more than enough. Period. But him being more than enough doesn’t take away the hurt. It just changes it from hurt of despair to hurt with hope and purpose. It sucks that we have 2 empty chairs this year. (It sucked when we only had one) Its literally the worst. But God is the literal best. And God is going to hear those silent screams and see that broken heart and he’s going to embrace me with all the love and tenderness of a good good Father. He’s going to wipe the tears away from my swollen eyes and tell me it’s all going to be ok. And he really means it. Things really are going to be ok. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe not even in my lifetime, but someday.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!

Serve the LORD with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the LORD, he is God!

It is he who made us, and we are his;

we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

and his courts with praise!

Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the LORD is good;

his steadfast love endures forever,

and his faithfulness to all generations.

-Psalm 100