Preparations abound from house to house. Contributions delegated. Nothing too important you see, the boss just won’t let go. She’s got to make it perfect. It can’t ever be perfect again, but it can be great.

Fall is the season of gratitude. So. We’ve had a lifetime of turkey days spearheaded by my aunt. From the apartment days with the giant tiger painting to the house days with the giant tiger painting. This year we are without so much. No aunt. No house. No giant tiger painting.

And yet.

We will gather in a house so familiar, even if it’s not the same. We will watch the kids stick black olives onto their fingers and giggle uncontrollably. We will have a kid table, a big kid table (who are really adults, but will always be the kids), and an old folk table (sorry mom). We will pass the fixins around and watch football while we do so. We will laugh at the furry creatures underfoot. We will be together with our heavy hearts and all of these things will help make the load not so hard to carry.

There will be cousins. There will be two turkeys. There will be laughter. There will be yelling. There will be sadness. There will be a mom who might not have been here. There will be cookies and pies. There will be love. There will be family.

So this is a Turkey Day where it’s easy to remember how much we’ve lost, how many we’ve had to say goodbye to. It’s also a Turkey Day to remember how damn lucky we are, cliche as it may sound.

Gratitude and Grief. Sometimes they go hand in hand.