I once attended a church that skipped the sermon the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Instead, everyone was asked to bring in one item that represented what he or she was thankful for that year. Each person would bring the item up to the alter, explain what it meant to them, and why they were thankful for it. I loved this tradition and it really got the eyes of the church members on what the holiday is all about.
This week I was asked by a friend, who also attended that particular church back in the day, what I would put on the alter if the church was still participating in that old tradition. I didn't have to think long. I lost my grandmother on November 5th.
I would place the heart shaped necklace I bought us many years ago on the alter. I had one half of the necklace and she had the other. One half said “Granddaughter” and the other “Grandmother.” That necklace signified the close bond that we shared ever since the day I was born.
This Thanksgiving, I won't be setting a place for my grandmother at the table, but I will be thankful for the 35 years of memories she gave me and for our daily telephone chats. I'll be thankful that she got to know my kids, and that she always showed unconditional love to my youngest daughter, who suffers from a rare neuro-genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome. My daughter is never expected to speak, yet she somehow was able to utter the word “mommom” whenever my grandmother would enter the room.
My grandmother will be truly missed by all, but I choose to be thankful for her life. Thankful that I got to be a part of it.