Monday, November 12, 2012

A Thankful Heart

The leaf-woven quilt had been raked and mulched. A crisp cold wind blew its way down my mountain hollow, singing its prelude to winter. Frost diamonds glistened atop pumpkins destined for decorations on my farmhouse porch. All the vegetables had been preserved in glass jars and lined springhouse shelves, joining sister jars of plump summer blackberries.

The season of thankfulness had arrived. Time to bow the knee and fling praises toward heaven for harvest gifts and blessings bestowed. The calendar confirmed the natural signs. I had decorated the altar table at church with a cornucopia of fall’s offering, wheat sheaves and a painting of an older man saying grace over his bountiful table. I was going through the motions but my heart was heavy and not even the slightest thanks could penetrate the sorrow barrier binding my spirit.

Earlier that week, I retrieved my tablecloth from the dining room credenza and underneath the heirloom covering were place cards inscribed with family members names. I remembered the excitement of finding the beautiful cards in an antique shop and rejoicing over how they would complement my grandmother’s tablecloth. I lovingly picked them up and pressed them to my heart. 

The name of my son’s fiancĂ© was on top, the beautiful young woman who had died of a brain aneurism shortly after accepting Brad’s proposal of marriage; Gretchen was twenty-eight. Next in the stack was the name of my own precious daughter who had passed away after a courageous battle with breast cancer; Brooke was thirty-four. My mother’s name was on the next card, the mother who died six months after my daughter’s death. Tears fell leaving smudges on the beloved names. How could I have a spirit of thankfulness after such tragedies? I crumbled in a heap of overwhelming sadness.

Through my sobs slowly came a realization: I was so fortunate having had these amazing women in my life, if two of them only for a short season. How could I not celebrate with thankfulness their grace and beauty?

It was Gretchen who started the tradition of giving me a flower arrangement for our Thanksgiving table every year. Brooke carried on Gretchen’s custom until her own death. I had not been able to face flowers since Gretchen and Brooke’s passing, and had started serving thanksgiving dinner on TV trays to avoid the memories made around the holiday table. I decided to renew the floral tradition to honor those memories and in thankfulness of Brooke and Gretchen’s lives.

This year I will again set our holiday table and embrace Morgan, the lovely young woman God has graciously brought into Brad’s life. As for the name cards, I will give them a place of honor on the sideboard.

We will once again hold hands, offer thanks for our blessings, for those around the table and those whose who have left our sight but not our hearts.

Sweet readers, my prayer for your family as they gather together asking the Lord’s blessings is for love to permeate the room, and that the heaping bowls of food remind you of God’s provision, that grace abounds, and that the memories of loved ones gone on to glory hover close.

Sing with me the beautiful words of this hymn and may all the blessings of this Thanksgiving season be yours.  

Come, ye thankful people, com
Raise the song of harvest home!
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin;
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home!

With a thankful heart,
Dee Dee


  1. Ah Dee Dee,
    Thanks for warming my heart with this wonderful remembrance and renewal of loved ones who have gone before us. I have so many in heaven whose lives so touched and blessed me and so many others. Somehow, tears help to drain the pain and help us grab hold to the hope that we will see our loved ones again. May you have a special thanksgiving as your loved ones memories hover close to your heart.

    1. Glenda,

      Thank you for your kind words.I always listen closely for your gems of wisdom. Praying you have a blessed Thanks giving with sweet memories of those now with the Lord.

  2. I love how you honor those ladies with such beautiful traditions, Dee Dee. We especially miss those precious people during the holidays. My sister lost her 7 yr old daughter in 2009 and, no matter how long we live, we'll miss Karis.
    Hugs to you, sweet friend, and blessings to you and your family this Thanksgiving!
    Love, Susan

    1. Thank you, Susan.I pray sweet memories of Karis hover close this Thanksgiving. Hugs back to you,and many blessings to you and your family. Miss you.

  3. What a beautiful post, Dee Dee. Those we've lost continue to hold a special place in our hearts...and at our tables. Praying for you and your precious family this Thanksgiving. Love you!

    1. Thank you, Cathy. You know that I love you bunches! Praying you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

  4. Oh, Dee Dee,
    Your heart speaks volumes and I am right there with you, but we must go on. You have this new person in your life - in the life of your family. You must risk setting the table, Dee Dee. I must too. Not sure yet just how my table looks, but am thankful we can remember and reflect and rejoice in our bounty - even in our sadness. I love you so much. Your canned goods are beautiful and an example of how you have continued to find the good. Blessings to you and Jim. Much love, dear friend.

    1. Dear Marcia,
      I know you understand my words all to well. I keep your wonderful book on grief on my nightstand.
      I pray blessings and comfort on your family as you gather for Thanksgiving this year. You are a wise and wonderful friend. Praying our sweet Lord will snuggle you close as your table is set. Love you.