Smells of turkey, stuffing, and Aunt Patty’s famous pumpkin pie are some of the things that evoke warm feelings at Thanksgiving. Many families sit and laugh about memories of years past, or keeping traditions that go back to a time we may not even remember. Dinner isn’t complete unless you serve your favorite dish (that fancy green bean casserole you love), or show that crazy video that grandma insists on watching every year of the second grade play where you were a tree. Some will play a family football game, and others can’t live without seeing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
One thing that many of us share is that we miss those families who can’t be there anymore. It is a time to share memories that keep them close to us in our mind and hearts. What we don’t often discuss is what should happen if we aren’t there at a gathering in the future. Right now, while all of our family is gathered together, it is actually a perfect time to ask questions, or share your thoughts. While perhaps it isn’t a topic for the dinner table (cousin John will put the kibosh on that for sure), there are a lot of other opportunities to check in with family members on what they want, or lay out your own plan. While you are peeling the mountain of potatoes, cutting up onions that make you cry, or slicing pieces of the holiday ham, you can take a moment to share things with one another.
I have spoken to so many people who never had that opportunity with their own mother, grandfather, or close friend. They come in at a difficult time and struggle with wishing their loved one had said something. Most of them say “I wish she had told me what she wanted, I just don’t know what the right thing to do is, and my siblings can’t agree on anything!” Although it seems the topic isn’t appropriate for the holiday, it is actually a perfect opportunity. There is no better way to say I love you to your family than to tell them EXACTLY what you want. And if the siblings all hear it from your mouth directly, (in writing is better for those with selective hearing or memory) then there can be no argument. Perhaps if you start the ball rolling by sharing what you want, you may learn what your loved ones think, so when the time comes, you will know exactly what you need to do. And you can give thanks for that.