Thanksgiving. Perhaps our most family centered and inspirational national holiday in America.
Each Thanksgiving we do our best to gather with family and friend to express our gratitude for the many, many blessings in our lives.
My wife and I have been blessed to celebrate Thanksgiving with closest friends and family for many decades. And yet, each time we return to the Thanksgiving table, inevitably thoughts turn to those who are no longer with us.
This becomes all the more true as years pass and we enter the "golden years."
It seems too often we learn of the passing of a cherished friend or loved one. And yet, I believe that with every new Thanksgiving holiday, we have another chance to somehow give thanks for those who have transitioned to the world to come.
This Thanksgiving, I shall especially cherish loving memories of a very dear friend who passed away this past September. The character of this very special man is reflected in his wish that there be no memorial service or death notice of his passing.
Of course, all of us who loved and cherished him so very much honored his request. Even as I write these words in his loving memory I hesitate to share his name. His companion and his beloved children and grandchildren will know.
As weeks have passed after his death, it simply has not become any easier for me to not lift the phone and give him a call, or just send him an email or text.
While I know I did not check in with him as frequently as I wished, I hope with all my heart that he knew how very much I loved and cherished him.
And, when I would least expect it, I’d receive a phone call from him, teasingly inquiring if I was still "among the living."
How deeply I miss him every day.
Still, I have always believed that death is the greatest teacher about life and how best to live.
On this Thanksgiving, in spite of all the turmoil in our nation and world, I truly hope and pray that as we gather around our beautifully decorated tables, we will be very sure to share with those closest and dearest to us, how much we love them.
At the same time, I believe it's appropriate to take a few moments to share loving, beautiful memories of our loved ones who have passed.
And maybe, just maybe, in the weeks and months ahead, we will actually pick up the phone to be sure they know how very special they are to us each and every day.
In the way I shall live each day that I am given, through word and deed, I shall do my best to be a living memorial for my dear departed friend.
In this same way, each of us serves as noble living memorials for all our beloved, cherished, deceased family and friends.
I hope and pray that this Thanksgiving will give us a much needed chance to catch our breath, pause and acknowledge the most precious gifts of life, love, home and friendship, and to give lasting thanks for beautiful, enduring, loving memories.
— Weinstein lives in Baton Rouge