I need not explain it, mostly because I cannot.
I think, though, that I could easily bog down in pity and piety and anxiety and loss; although I don’t suspect that anyone, least of all Zachary, would find that a very good way to spend Thanksgiving Day. There is a purpose to this day, a uniquely American, statutory day, that transcends gluttony and football. There should be, at least for a moment, a pause of gratitude for the things we have, for the things we have lost; for what is to come, and for what might well be.
There is a certain satisfaction in stopping and looking around the house, large or small, mansion or not; in looking at the kids, no matter their current temperament; apprising the things we have accumulated, needed or not, and thinking; you know, despite it all, despite the roadblocks and speed bumps, despite the challenges and roundabouts, despite the arguments and tantrums and headaches and set backs, I’ve done OK, and I am thankful for that. I might not be where I want to be, but where I’m at is better than maybe I ever thought I could do or would do or even deserve. And I’m thankful for that.
It’s funny, having just written that, but before Zachary died, I admit, wholeheartedly admit, that enough was never enough and more seemed just out of reach. It is hard to be thankful when you feel you’ve not gotten yours, yet.
But that empty chair. That empty chair, reminds me to see, hear and touch what is now, and to give thanks for each sensation, thought, feeling and emotion, because they are fleeting and then they are gone. That is not, in my opinion, fatalistic; it is realistic. And it’s not a downer, it is the quintessential moment.
Last night I had dinner with a couple of friends whom I really enjoy passing the time with, whom I really like, and for once, that was enough. Just being was enough, and I’m thankful for that.
Tomorrow, I will see my family; there is a roof over their heads and food on the table, and I am thankful for that.
And yes, tomorrow, I surely will look at old photos of Zack, and cry and reminisce and I will stare at that empty chair, but that chair is only significant because of who Zack was and the memories and thoughts and feelings he inspires.
And I am Thankful for that.
There’s always a place at the table for you son, I know, we never eat alone. The chair is never really empty. And that’s enough. I am thankful for that.