Thanksgiving Prayers — My Grandpa’s and Mine

Hi and Happy (almost) Thanksgiving,

For the past few years, I have posted one of my favorite Thanksgiving Prayers — written many years ago by my grandpa.  Here it is again along with my prayer for this year.

“Our Father-God we thank thee…

  • For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies
    • For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps
    • For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries
    • For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky
    • For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises
    • For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars
    • For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra
    • For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together
    • For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful
    • For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite
    • For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark
    • For parenthood we thank thee.
    • And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace. If it be thy will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come. Amen.”

I love this prayer and it gets me every time. Love you Grandpa and miss you very much.

I want to add a prayer of thanks to all of our loved ones who have supported us over the last year. Much of it has been a blur and we couldn’t have made it without that support or the prayers that have been lifted for us.

Our Father-God, we thank you:

  • For friends who prepare food when meals are the last things on our minds.
  • For siblings who drop everything to come to be with you when you need them the most.
  • For parents who love you through the toughest year of your life.
  • For in-laws who miss your loved one as much as you.  We are thankful for having them as family who we will always love. And, we are thankful for being able to share memories with them.
  • For family and friends who are there to share a funny story or laughter and there when you need to cry.
  • For a 20 year marriage to a man who loved us unconditionally. We just wish there had been many more years together.
  • For a child who is a blessing, and has been since his birth. He is an amazing young man and the best of his dad lives on in him.
  • For friends who have stepped up throughout the year by listening, spending time with us, and laughing with us.
  • For our church family who has shown what faith truly looks like.
  • For our school family who has taken care of Ian through a tough year and continues to teach him and help him.
  • For our neighbors for helping to take care of our yard and with a few bills.
  • For our faith, without which we would not have made it this year.
  • For the ability to love others despite the pain of loss.
  • For being able to thank those who have helped us, lifted us up, prayed with us, prayed for us, and have loved us.  Amen.

Hope and pray that you have a Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.  May you be thankful for times with them and enjoy your blessings.

Making The Most of The Dash

Last night, my son found a box of old photos and a poem I shared with my family in honor of the death of my grandmother.  She passed away 5 years ago.  It brought back all kinds of memories from Ian as a baby, and Kirk and me prior to his birth.  I smiled through tears as I looked over all of the treasures and family photos.

That poem was The Dash by Linda Ellis and I am going to share it today.  But first a few thoughts on my grandma.  Over the last year, I have been thinking a lot about her.  You see, her husband also died at a young age and unexpectedly, similar to my husband’s death.  I never knew her husband (my grandpa) but loved hearing stories about him and what a great man he was.

I wish I could ask Grandma questions about how she dealt with being a widow, what advice she’d give me, and how it was moving forward.  Growing up, we heard things from her and had brief discussions but it never totally registered what she went through.  I have a new appreciation for this woman who was very strong, sometimes to the point of being rude.  She made the most of her dash and taught us how to do the same.

So for those of us touched by a loved one’s death, I hope this poem will be encouraging.  It has been for me and I am so glad that I have found it again.  I hope that we can remember what is important in life and be thankful for that time we did have with our loved ones.  I also hope that we make sure to cherish those who are still in our lives.

The Dash — Linda Ellis —-

“I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.  He referred to the dates on her tombstone, from the beginning… to the end.

“He noted that first came the date of her birth. And spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

“For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth.  And, now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.

“For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house…the cash.  What matters is how we live and love, and how we spend our dash.

“So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?  For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. 

“If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel. 

“And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. 

“If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a while. 

“So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?” 

Let’s make the most of our dash, treat each other with kindness, and always love.

51 Weeks And Counting…

51 weeks ago… I cannot believe that it is almost an entire year since my husband passed away.  It just doesn’t seem possible.  In some ways, the time has flown by and in others it has dragged along.

This year’s Thanksgiving will be the last of the firsts.  He died soon after Thanksgiving last year.  But this year, the anniversary date of his death is before the holiday.  So, it will be a tough time for us.  But, we will be with family and able to remember him.

Ian and I will be with both sides of our family and that means a lot to me.  I expect lots of crying and some laughter as well.  I look forward to the time we will have to be together.  It is indeed a blessing.  It will help to share memories and if needed, to cry together.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.   I like that this holiday is about being with loved ones and enjoying delicious food that everyone helped make.  There is also time to chat, play games, watch games, or whatever people want to do.  And, we say what we are thankful for around a prayer circle prior to eating.

I know it will be a challenge this year so I am trying to just let myself feel what I need to.  Along with that, I keep going and take care of what Ian and I need.  It continues to be a challenge, but we are trying.

One step at a time.  One week at a time.  One day at a time.  One hour at a time.  One memory at a time.  One funny story at a time.  One sobbing at a time.  One prayer at a time.

Along with my loss, I have friends and family who are also grieving for loved ones who have died.  My prayers are with them as are my thoughts.  In addition, I have loved ones who are suffering, are in chronic pain, being treated for cancer and other ailments, are depressed, and are dealing with financial issues.  My thoughts and prayers are also with them.

To everyone who has helped Ian and me this past year, I thank you.  I thank you for your support, for your caring, for listening, for checking in on us, for feeding us, for sharing a story about Kirk, for laughing with us, for crying with us, for praying for us, for praying with us, and for loving us.  We couldn’t have made it this year without you.

For those also suffering, I hope you have people to step up and be there with you in the bad times and enjoy the good times.  It took me a while after Kirk’s loss to realize that it was okay to still have good times and to carry on.  I felt guilty but know that he wouldn’t want us to suffer or be sad all of the time.  May you also know that it is okay to keep moving forward and to have a little fun along with the sorrow.

And for those in pain, having treatments, waiting for the diagnosis, and so many other issues, I lift you up in prayer.  I ask that you be comforted, that questions be answered, that you will be helped, and that you will be surrounded by love and support.

Let’s help each other through our suffering and pain.  Let’s spread kindness and be supportive.  Let’s remember that we all have trials to deal with so we should not judge each other.  Let’s be there for each other.  And, let’s always, always love.

Author’s Note: The calendar picture and healing prayer are from Power Point clip art. The date was just on the picture and has no particular meaning. 

A Year Ago…

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since my cousin passed away and almost a year since my husband died.  To think of the year 2019 without either of them is heartbreaking, but sadly is our reality.  So today, I want to celebrate and remember both Marit and Kirk.

One thing I may have to do after the year anniversary is to change the subtitle of my blog from wife to widow.  We were happily married for 20 years and I am so very thankful.  But, a widow is who I am now and is still something I am trying to come to terms with.

I have such fond memories growing up with my cousin.  On my mom’s side of the family, including me and my siblings, there were 12 first cousins as well as second cousins.  Marit was one my first cousins.  Although we didn’t live in the same towns, we all had fun growing up and spending time together primarily in the summers.  We’d laugh, talk, enjoy the beach, play games, and sing together.

Marit had a lovely singing voice and was so talented.  She recorded a CD of her own music that I still enjoy listening to.  Of course now, it is with tears in my eyes.  She was also so very cool and beautiful — both inside and out.  I admired her over the years and remember that she dealt with a lot of stuff.

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with her family, friends, and all who loved her.  She is missed and touched us all.  I am so very thankful for all of those years we had and wish there had been more.

As far as Kirk, it is hard to believe that it has been almost 12 months ago.  For much of that time, I was in a fog and not able to come to terms with it.  It was such a shock and so unexpected that I sometimes still forget he is gone.  I didn’t know it was his time back then.

He traveled quite a bit in the family business, so we were used to times that he wasn’t with us. Sometimes my mind plays tricks that he is just on a trip. But over the past few months, that has been replaced with coming to terms with the fact that he won’t be coming back.  And that really hurts.

I was talking with a family member this week who loved him as I did.  We both still miss his laugh, his smile, his voice, and how he lit up a room.  He loved to joke and help  everyone to have a good time.  We both cried as we thought about him and wanted one more chance to be with him.

There is a big hole in our life and we are trying to work around that.  Some days it is easy to do; other days it feels impossible.  Some days it hurts so much that I scream and other days I smile about a memory or a joke he told.  Most days, however, I am both happy and sad. Our son and I regularly talk about Kirk and laugh at some of the things that he did.  And we look at our numerous pictures.

I think I have been handling all of this well and then I think of all of the things I am failing at and haven’t gotten take care of yet.  My priority has been Ian, his well-being, school work, and time for fun, as well as myself and my sanity.  So, that leaves some things that I still need to catch up on.  And, I am working on it.

I try not to be too hard on myself but it isn’t easy.  Kirk was the glue for us, helped so much around the house, was always cleaning up, and took care of many things that I now have to. I guess I took him for granted and I feel bad for that.  I do realize how blessed I was for everything he was and everything he did.  I just wish those little things hadn’t bothered me when he was alive. They just weren’t important.

I have learned quite a bit this year as well.  That is the importance of plans, having finances in order and knowing how to access the information, spending time with loved ones, appreciating each other, expressing love to each other, and realizing that tomorrow is not promised.

On November 3, we celebrated All Saints’ Day at my church.  It was a really hard service but it was lovely.  And we sang “For All The Saints” — a song that I cried through. A friend of mine put her hand on my shoulder during that song and it helped a lot. It has been three years since her husband passed away.

There have been other losses in our family and also for my friends in recent years.  My thoughts and prayers are with them as they deal with their grief.  It is a long process and I hope they have a faith and loved ones to help them as Ian and I have.

Blessings to you and yours. May you cherish your loved ones and let them know.  And, may we remember and be thankful for our loved ones who have gone before us. I am very thankful for Kirk, Marit, and many other loved ones who have passed away in recent years.

Here are lyrics of For All The Saints. Tears come to my eyes as I sing it. I am comforted by these words and music. Hope it is a blessing to you as well:

“For all the saints who from their labors rest,
who Thee by faith before the world confessed;
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

“Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

“O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

“And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

“But when there breaks a yet more glorious day;
the saints triumphant rise in bright array;
the King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!”

(images are from Power Point clip art.)