Three years ago, I spent my first Thanksgiving away from my brother. My parents had decided to move him to a permanent home, where he would have 24-hour care. That first Thanksgiving was a difficult one.
A tradition my family has is to go around the room and say what we were all thankful for. Usually, everyone would say things like "their family" or "being healthy." I found it hard that day to come up with something that I was really grateful for. I sat there and thought to myself, "well I'm not very thankful that my brother can't be here with us right now." But I knew saying that would kill the mood, so I went along with everyone else's thoughts and said I was thankful for my family. This does not mean that I wasn't, and am still not thankful for my family, but in that moment I thought that life wasn't fair. I kept thinking to myself, why did everyone get to have their entire family there, with no problem?
I did see my brother that day, though. My mom, cousin, and I all went after we ate dinner and spent some time with him. It was a good feeling, able to spend the holiday with him for a bit, but it didn't take away the pain knowing I would be going home, and he wasn't coming with me. That would be the last year I would be spending the holidays with my brother. Since then, the holiday season has been a bit difficult. It is full of so much excitement and cheer, but there's a giant hole in my heart knowing that I won't be spending the holidays with him anymore.
I spend the holiday season thinking about all of the times I did get with my brother, and all the wonderful memories I will never forget. Yet, it is still difficult, and always will be. But for now, I am thankful for the family I do have, and the memories that I will cherish forever. Remember to tell those who you love that you are thankful for them because you never know when you might lose them.