Giving Thanks, but . . .

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving day; the weather was beautiful so we moved it outside and it couldn’t have been nicer.  There were 10 adults and Rose, a precious 11 month-old daughter of a couple that I know from work/school.  Everybody contributed to the dinner, so I don’t think it was overwhelming for any of us; I know that it wasn’t for me.

Thanksgiving was always Christopher’s favorite holiday; it was the most predictable in terms of food and he loved all of it.  Even Kim commented that as she was making the sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top, she knew that would have been Christopher’s favorite.  It is hard to do anything without thinking about him and how it would be if he were there; how it had been when he was there.
A funny story about last year’s dinner was that we shared it with Julie and two of her daughters.  I had committed to dessert so I had two pies.  When I mentioned the pecan pie, Christopher asked me where I had “found” it.  I had no idea what he was talking about, but later learned that he had bought a pie from one of his teachers (they were made by ladies in the teacher’s church).  He had a piece at school and then when he got home, he couldn’t find it.  He thought that the one that I had was the “missing” pie.  I suspect that he had it on the top of his car and drove off, but we’ll never know.  He was just so matter of fact as he asked me where I found the pie – it makes me smile to remember.
So Thanksgiving is over (at least formally; we should always be giving thanks) and once again, Christopher didn’t show up.  Today is Friday, so I guess it was 51 weeks ago tonight that I lost him.  Next Sunday, December 7 marks the first anniversary (there must be a better word) of the accident that took his life.
There is still a huge part of me that can not fully appreciate the loss.  A friend’s son got married this week and I realized that was something I expected to be a part of on Christopher’s behalf and that was lost.  This coming spring he would have graduated (hopefully!) with all the pomp and business that brings.  That two was lost.
I have to remind myself that he is not in the presence of God feeling any loss for these worldly milestones.  But I am here feeling these and many losses very deeply.  There reamins a part of me that can’t imagine that he is gone from this world; I think that is God’s way of protecting me from what would be a very overwhelming sense of loss.  Not to say that just missing him isn’t overwhelming enough.
Then there is the legal process which continues on.  There have been charges filed as it relates to the accident.  Two counts of vehicular homicide.  This has given me opportunity to try to minister to the other family who lost their mom that night.  One the other side, however, it makes it very difficult to try to keep focused on the future.  Every mention of it takes me back to that night.
I am very conflicted about this legal process; I have great empathy for how hard this must be for that family.  At the same time, I don’t believe that always avoiding consequences is a good thing; it often is not the best thing in the long run.  
So, I am able to give thanks, genuinely give thanks, but I hurt in ways that I never thought possible.  I can no longer say, “Last Thanksgiving, Christopher and I . . . ”   I know that I already can’t reminisce about last Christmas, but it doesn’t feel the same.  I suspect that this confirms the fact that most people say that last Christmas doesn’t count as the first Christmas without him because I was so numb and didn’t really even try to “do” Christmas.  This year however . . . 
I rejoice that I am certain of so many things, not the least of which is that Christopher is experiencing no loss or pain or regrets.  I rejoice that I will see him again.  And, I am thankful for those truths, but for today, it just hurts and I am sad and that’s okay.