"Have a Happy Thanksgiving"
I have been told/wished/advised/urged/ to have a "Happy Thanksgiving." Let me start by stating that everyone who has done so has truly wanted me to be happy--I fervently believe that. But making that wish, or extending that pleasantry to me, does not come without risk. Can I ,or should I, be happy when my daughter Casey is not here to be with us on this special occasion?
Consistent with my experience over the last three years since Casey has died I feel disconnected from others who have not suffered such a painful and inexplicable loss when they "treat" me as if I am the same as them. I am different and will always be different-that is clear now. This will be the 4th Thanksgiving without Casey-without Casey rushing in by train , me waiting to get the first glimpse of her as she appeared walking under the columns at 30th street station, knowing that she had seen me when that smile-that "Casey" look came across her face and I truly believed at that moment, that that look, that "face" was just for me and no one else but her dad could ever receive that special gift.Casey juggling all of her busy work and leisure time, appearing so beautiful, so poised, so absolutely wonderful to her adoring father who, often could not believe that he had played a part in the development of this incredible human being. Casey seeing her pets and loving them all as only Casey could , singing from room to room throughout the house,staying out late to connect with local friends, waking up and appearing in a long and ill-fitting extra large T- shirt, with her hair haphazardly bunched up on top of her head, no make up, teeth unbrushed and looking so young, innocent and beautiful. Casey with mom and her little brother and making all feel so specially blessed to be loved by her.
I will share Thanksgiving with friends and family and those that I care about most and who care for me. It will be a special time because I know that one should not squander or take for granted opportunities to be with those who matter to us. But I am not seeking to have a "Happy Thanksgiving." Perhaps I am seeking to have a positively reflective Thanksgiving, where I take the time to take in all those who are with me and I love, all those who are no longer with me physically that I love and miss so much. To take the time to remember how blessed I am, to remember Casey, and to remember that from pain and tragedy come tears and one day smiles, and tears and more smiles and an appreciation for all that there is , an appreciation for the opportunities seemingly born from pain and despair, the opportunities afforded by life, and the realization that special days, holidays, do not need to include "happiness" to be special.