On Thanksgiving day, nearly 15 years ago, my cousin David died very suddenly and very young. It was completely unexpected. He was a very kind, incredibly gentle, amazing person. He was only in his twenties. Then, he was gone. It felt like all we had to remember him by was a holiday, one that we have always raised our glasses and toasted to his memory as a family. It is his day. It can be difficult to gather to celebrate a day that reminds you of a terrible time, a bitter moment in your life that reminds you of another's death. But as a family, we still gather on this day for Thanks. Because we are thankful.
I was young and perhaps not fully cognisant of the weight of what was happening on Thanksgiving that day. I will never forget the panic that filled the room as we sat at the dinner table and watched the paramedics run swiftly down the stairs carrying him on a stretcher. I knew it would change everything. I had never experienced death, not like this. But, you don't have to be an adult to feel the immense weight of a life changing event as it unfolds. It can be hard to understand the reason that someone so young, a life filled with such promise, can be taken away. I still don't understand. But now, as an adult, I still feel the palpable weight of the day and the weight of what it really means. I am thankful for David and for my family. Thankful for his memory, for the moment that we could all spend together in those last moments. Life is precious, beautiful, and fleeting--and it is never more apparent to me than on Thanksgiving.
So on today, David's day, I am thankful.