They always tell you about the year of firsts. How awful each first holiday, birthday, celebration, event is proceeding their death. And they’re right. They absolutely suck. Everyone cries all the while coming together and it’s really sad and it’s awful and you just want to go home and forget about the whole day. You don’t even want to celebrate it in the first place.
You go home and you cry some more on your own, thinking about what it has been like had they still been here.
Then, it’s the second year. This time is different. Everyone smiles and laughs and celebrates – “just the way they’d have wanted you to." We remember and reminisce. There’s lots of smiles and laughs and countless pictures. There’s stories, too; even the ones you know they’d hate to have been told.
The third year comes around. The whole family doesn’t get together anymore. You each do your own thing with your immediate family. It’s not so bad, but you’re still sad. Except no one cries. Not in front of anyone else, anyways. You eat dinner in silence because the lump in your throat is too big. Everyone else is quiet, too. Do they miss them just as much, is this just as hard for them?
The fourth year is here. I made separate plans. Everyone asked me what I’m going to do for Thanksgiving. I tell them that I am going to have dinner with my grandma. They say that that’s nice, and ask if she lives far away. I laugh and say she’s dead. In Heaven maybe, if that’s a real place. So yes, far away.
Yes, I am going to have Thanksgiving dinner with my dead Grandmother. I am going to have a cheeseburger because she always made me one on thanksgiving, it was tradition. And I am going to eat two whole cans of cranberry sauce because it is my favorite thing in the world and she always used to make sure she got enough for me to have as much as I wanted.
I am going to sit there, wherever it is that I go, and I am going to cry because I miss talking about UConn women’s basketball and my own playing basketball and my future and my dreams and my desires and life and love and happiness and work and school and friends.
I am going to cry because I miss her stories and her touch and her voice and her smile and her saying “I love you” or “I’m proud of you”.
And finally, I am going to look up at the sky and say, “I am eternally thankful I had someone like you in my life. Happy thanksgiving Grandma, I love you always.”