Photo by Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr
Photo by Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr

Grieving is a singularly unpleasant process. No matter how much you prepare for it, or how well-adjusted you are, the loss of a loved one will throw you for more loops than a roller coaster.

This will be my first Thanksgiving without my father, and I’m surprised to find that I can think of plenty of things to be thankful for. I feel guilty about it, even if I know it’s what he would want me to do. I expected to be bitter; to shut this holiday and all the ones after it out of my heart and nurse my sense of having been wronged by the universe. That reaction I could understand.

But I find myself looking forward to Thanksgiving and finding comfort in treasuring all the good things life has blessed me and left me with. My father is gone, but the memories I have of him and the things he taught me, the way he raised me – those are still here. The love he gave me since before I was born is something not even Death can take away. He and my mother helped build a family for my sister and I that has always been there for us; that is the source of strength in my uncertain world. He taught me to laugh and helped me understand why I cry. Because he loved me, I know how to love, how to share that love with others and create something beyond priceless – a family of my own.

Grieving is a singularly strange process. No matter how much you prepare for it, or think you understand it, the loss of a loved one will teach you things about yourself you never knew. I had always seen myself as a pessimist; someone who sees the glass as not just empty, but rapidly and constantly emptying. But now, I’m not so sure. My Dad was thankful for so much; and though he may be gone, it seems he’s still teaching me things.

I’m thankful that I had and have a dad like you, Dad.

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Published by rsjeffrey

Robin Jeffrey was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to a psychologist and a librarian, giving her a love of literature and a consuming interest in the inner workings of people’s minds.

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