Carol and I love family traditions and the meaning and purpose they add to our lives. One of our favorite Thanksgiving Day traditions is to go around the table allowing each family member or guest a chance to share what has happened in their life over the last year that they are grateful for. This year proves to be a challenge beyond anything we have ever experienced as we grieve the earthly loss of our precious Christina. Each person in our family grieves her passing in a different way and feels her absence in a manner very specific to the relationship which they shared.
Christina loved this time of the year with a passion: the cooking, playing games, walking to the park to play ball and overall engaging in what her and I would frequently refer to as “a celebration of life.” We continue with this celebration by being grateful to God for the gift of her life and the profound impact she has had and continues to have on each of us. We are grateful that Christina’s spirit lives on and that our relationship with her has not died. Her story continues through each of us as we celebrate God’s gift of life by embracing the spirit and enthusiasm with which Christina lived it.
As we approach the holiday season, I am reminded and encouraged by the words from one of my favorite authors, Ziz Ziglar in his book “Confessions of a Grieving Christian” as he wrote about the loss of his own daughter. I have paraphrased the words to fit our family.
“And then the thought comes of Christina’s absence from our family get togethers: I realize that Christina is not missing; she is merely absent.
To be absent means not to be present in a particular moment or setting. To be missing means that nobody knows where you are. We know where Christina is! She is not missing, only absent from us temporarily. The greater truth—and certainly the more wonderful and comforting truth—is that we will be with her one day and all of us will worship our Lord eternally together in heaven.
This separation is only temporary. It is only an absence. Our future speaks of togetherness, love, and unspeakable joy.”
We are comforted by the realization that our separation is only for a time.
One of the many passions that Christina and I shared was photography and the following photos are some of our Thanksgivng Day favorites that remind us to continue celebrating the life God has given us.
Thanksgiving 2001′ Our craft tradition of little thanksgiving houses
Thanksgiving 2005 Crafts
Thanksgiving 2005 Frisbee throwing
Thanksgiving 2006 Carols famous (and my favorite) Apple praline pie
Thanksgiving 2008 Christina always helped me carve the Turkey
Thanksgiving 2008 Watching William Bradford video… a longtime favorite 🙂
Thanksgiving 2008 Photo’s in the park by our house
Thanksgiving 2008 working off the turkey
Thanksgiving 2009 Little thanksgiving craft homes
Thanks Living Tradition
Thanksgiving 2011 Matthew being a little impatient
Thanksgiving 2011 Christina and Tessa setting out the food
Thanksgiving 2011 Christina setting out her special sweet potato recipe
Thanksgiving 2011 Carol, Christina and Tessa
Thanksgiving 2011 walk to the park
Thanksgiving 2011 Gametime
Thanksgiving 2011 we didn’t coordinate our serious pose very well 🙂
Marshall and Christina Thanksgiving 2011 in the park
Thanksgiving 2011 Jacob and Matthew getting serious
Thanksgiving 2011 Marshall and Tessa”s house
Thanksgiving 2011 Cooking on Henderson
Thanksgiving 2011 Marshall and Christina cooking on Henderson
Thanksgiving 2011 Christina’s decorations
Thanksgiving 2012 Marshall cooking his wonderful corn chowder
Thanksgiving 2012 Christina, Carissa, Marshall and Matthew
Thanksgiving 2012 Christina
Thanksgiving 2012 slot car action
Thanksgiving 2012 Jack and Katie Grace
Thanksgiving 2012 heading to the park for the game
Thanksgiving 2012 Carol and Christina going head to head 🙂
Thanksgiving 2012 Marshall scoring big
Thanksgiving 2012 Carissa’s big completion
Thanksgiving 2012 family photo