I'm sitting in my dad's office right now at my parent's house. It's funny to be in an office with no computer. It even took me a while to find a plug for mine. Of course, there's a tiny iPad sitting here, so I guess this room isn't void of all modern technology. There are notecards scattered around the desktop with words written on them like "Good afternoon" and "Thank you all for coming" and "My dad's life was filled…".
It's still a little startling knowing these words were spoken at my Grandpa's funeral; being aware of how temporary this life is.
I had to move a few stacks of photo albums just to find somewhere to sit. I'm so glad we have all of those pictures of my sisters and me with messy faces and matching outfits; of my mom catching a big halibut in a homemade bathing suit; of my dad with long blonde hair; of my grandpa at his wedding to my dad's mom and after she died, pictures of him at his wedding to our Grandma Nancy with frosting on his chin because Maddie insisted on "Cake in the face!"
I want the voice in my head that speaks to something bigger and greater than me to scream "Thank you!" for allowing any of this to happen; for giving us a life so full that we cry just thinking about it being over.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. This year we will have a few less guests, and not just because some of them have died, but maybe because some things have changed.
Last night I went into my parent's attic to find this stuffed giraffe I bought with money my grandpa gave me on my seventh birthday. It was there next to a broken music box holding some of my old molars. Then the Thanksgiving decorations got stuck in the dumbwaiter shaft and fell three stories, shattering into hundreds of pieces on the garage floor. Now we'll have a statue of a pilgrim lady holding her head along with sweet potatoes and corn. The holidays can be so entertaining.
My mom told me a thought this morning that I've heard a bunch of other times about saying "I get to" instead of "I have to". "Sometimes I think we start dreading half the things we have to go through in life when instead we should be grateful we have the opportunity to even do them," she said.
In the foreground we see how far away we have to park from Costco, wishing someone else would offer to cook this year, while in the distance babies are being born, long lives are being celebrated by hundreds of people the deceased never knew they touched and food is being served by busy hands to chapped-lipped mouths who look forward to this meal every year.
This season is filled with so many things that we get to do. And the world breathes a collective sigh of relief when we remember that.