[The last picture we have of my Dad was taken last Thanksgiving. I'll insert it here once we're back in town.] [This is one of the posts telling a story from the life of my Dad. Click here to see the others.]
We spent Thanksgiving last year with my parents. It was almost six months after my Dad's terminal cancer diagnosis, and he was not doing well. He had been unable to rest for months, and he was both more tired and must have been in more pain that any of us were aware of or could imagine. After we were there with him on Thanksgiving, he was in the inpatient Hospice unit of our hospital by Sunday night, and he died on Thursday.
Obviously there are ways in which last Thanksgiving is a hard memory, but as I've been giving thanks this year, I was somewhat surprised that my memories of last year came with a real sense of gratitude:
I'm thankful that we were able to be there with him and my Mom and that it wasn't just the two of them.
I'm thankful that in the evening after our Thanksgiving meal, we were able to tell him that he had another grandchild on the way.
I'm thankful that our last picture and video of him were with our son at his side. They loved one another and brought each other a lot of joy.
I'm thankful that I was there to see how hard a time he was having, as it helped make me ready for him to go. I didn't have any desire to see him have to keep struggling so much.
And on a lighter but still significant note, I'm thankful that the Cowboys always play on Thanksgiving, and that even if we're with my wife's family in Missouri, they'll let me watch it. It's something that's the same as I would have been doing with him.
In the bigger picture, now that he's been gone a year, I'm simply thankful that by God's grace, life has still turned out to be very good. I couldn't foresee that, because I couldn't imagine life without him. But it's true, and it's one of those things that I can't really explain. I'm okay with that, and really wasn't trying to write this to explain- just to give thanks.