As I looked down through the bleachers at the football game, I saw a feather. I looked up to the sky and saw a bird pass very close over our seats within seconds of seeing the feather. They say seeing feathers can be a sign of angels, and I remembered how much my mom loved watching the Ohio State Buckeyes play and how she always wore her Ohio State shirt and would cheer for them. She is cheering in heaven now.
We all have women and men in our lives this Thanksgiving that will be there and not with us. The movie “COCO” reminded me that we can remember them in so many small ways this year with small gestures in our homes and around our tables as we gather over the next week.
Tears, that lump in our throats and the physical pain are OK, do not push those feelings away. Don't try not to remember, because it is uncomfortable. We need to remember. We need to bring the empty chair and the apron, the smudged recipe, the worn cookbook and the tattered Bible to the table. We need to get out the game of Scrabble and set a place for Grandma and bring out her score-pad. We need to pull out Grandpa’s ball cap.
Wrap the sweater around your shoulders and breath deep in the scent of pipe smoke and Altoids. Make stuffing in the bowl from great-grandma. Wrap up with your kids in mom’s blanket and read a book with them that she used to read to them. Tell a story about Aunt Jen, from all those summers ago when she made crazy hats for everyone. Remember and tell the jokes and the stories. Pull out the old movies and photos. Rollback the photos on your phone and gather round to laugh and to cry and to remember those days when…..Make the time for each other now. Make the memories now. Be together and remember now.
Make the food that they loved. Find the recipes, make the cakes, make the cookies together. Go to the store and shop together. Shop in the stores that they used to take you to. Bring out the ornaments you made with them. Hang them on the tree with each other. Slow down and shop less. Remember. Cry. Laugh. Love. Hug. Nap together. Light candles. Eat together. Open your circle for those who are lonely and share your food with those who have no family.
Those who are gone hold the keys to the future of our children. Our lives will be richer and sweeter when we take the time to slow down, shop less and simplify our time together and just be with each other, be present and bring the history of our special friends and family to the tables and homes with us. It does not matter where or what our homes look like or if all of those errands or activities get done or posted. What matters is that we take the time to laugh and to love each other and to treasure the time we have and to remember those who have gone before of us. When we do, we will be thankful that we did and at peace with ourselves.