Even though Halloween is technically the first holiday we celebrated without Elli, it isn’t quite the same. It isn’t a day off and it isn’t one of those where you gather with extended family and eat a festive meal. It’s about costumes and candy and best celebrated with neighbors, I believe.

So yesterday was our first major holiday without Elli. She loved Thanksgiving — she loved the food, she loved the family time, she loved the atmosphere. But as I told my mom that evening, even though I miss her terribly, I wouldn’t ask for her to come back. She had a difficult life and was facing some pretty yucky things in the next year. So I look forward to joining her at the end of my own life here, instead.

Despite feeling all day that she was missing (I suppose that feeling will never completely go away, and I don’t want it to either), we still had a nice holiday. We had a big hot breakfast together before we headed up to spend the day with my parents, sister, and my own grandma. I also took about 20 minutes to visit the cemetery. The kids enjoyed their time with extended family, and it was really good to play with them and be together as one big family.

My family has a tradition of listing some of things we are thankful for each year. While it’s tough, in the midst of sadness, to be thankful, it’s a really good thing to try. We all found many blessings this year to thank God for, even in our loss of Elli. One thing I’m most thankful for is God’s patience with us as we ever-so-slowly learn the lessons He teaches us through these difficult circumstances.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.