Along with the cooler autumn weather comes Thanksgiving. Here in Canada it’s about a month earlier but iI’m semi-convinced that’s because the leaves change here earlier (I know that’s not the case but it strikes me as funny). This is typically a time for getting together with family and friends, to collectively look back at everything we have to be grateful for.
Holidays are generally difficult for those of us who have lost the people we hold most dear. It can be hard to be jovial and grateful in their absence. It could be that we feel like we don’t have a right to be celebrating, or are frustrated by the audacity of a world that seems perfectly content to keep barreling on when our world has come crashing to a halt (or maybe a slow crawl).
Ultimately, on this Thanksgiving, I’d like to share something with You for which I’m grateful and hopefully clear a path to find this for yourself.
I’ve lost a number of very close people in my life. Beyond my wife Samantha, I lost the man who, while not my biological father, was absolutely my father figure since I was 6 years old and from whom I learned so much. My maternal grandparents were extremely close and a quintessential part of my upbringing and, while they are both gone, they were a big part of shaping who I have become. With each respective loss I noticed something of them blossom inside of me, a parting gift, an aspect of them that I think it is both my duty and privilege to carry forward and share anew. It’s also worth noting that these traits are things that I admired in them and showed no exceptional aptitude for before their passing. It is through my intentional expression of these gifts that I honor the, show my gratitude both to them and for who I’ve become because of them.
If you’ll indulge me, I would like to share with you the gifts I received from the loved ones I’ve lost. I hope that in doing so that you might find similar gifts that those that you’ve lost have left within you.
I Am Thankful For:
- my grandfather, Arthur Gould, who in life showed me the joy and levity of intellectual mischief and left with me an appreciation and ease with quotes, wordplay and a special kind of wisdom that comes with questioning the status quo.
- my grandmother, Phyllis Gould, who showed in life that patience and compassion were the key to success with people and being a classy badass is something one can be at any age. She left me with a vocation to teach and an intuitive grasp of how people need to connect to what they’re learning
- my best friend, partner and wife, Samantha Wexler ,who in life embodied integrity without compromise, unwavering determination, as well as the importance of connection and purpose. She left in me an appreciation of art and the tapestry of stories, trends and causalities behind what we see (both in art and the world).
- To the father with whom I grew up Michel Zeppettini, through whom I got to experience and appreciate great restaurants and food, see how businesses and financial mechanisms worked, and who never pushed me to change who I am fundamentally, while always challenging me to be better. His gift was an understanding of the complexities and systems behind the scenes which affords me a type of peace and patience I truly never previously had with such things.
I have wonderful memories of all these people which I will always cherish. Each and every one of their passings is a loss for so many who knew them. And yet I find within me these gifts with which I can move forward, share those aspects of who they were to help others just as they would readily have done.
A Question For You
Who have you lost and what have they left for you to carry forward? What do you notice differently that they would have shown you? What strength or subtle intuitive understanding have you noticed that you admired in them? I believe we all get some kind of gift in that way from those that change the course of our life. I’d love to hear about yours… I truly would and I invite you to reach out and share. Even if it doesn’t feel very festive just now I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and may you find the peace you need to get you through. When you’re ready please reach out… I would love to know what gifts you’ve found from your loved ones.
Richard Strother is also The Widower’s Wingman. After losing his best friend and wife in October of 2018 after 20 years together Richard decided to find a new path that put all the best of his skills to use. After finding the most incredible relationship and helping several others do the same he started The Widower’s Wingman to continue helping men who’ve lost find their amazing and life altering relationships.