In keeping with this week’s holiday, we wanted to post another Thanksgiving writing from one of the incarcerated women with whom we write weekly. Especially since this Thursday is one of very few in the year when we will not be writing together. TH’s writing invites you into her family with simple direct intimacy; and leaves you haunted with the harsh reality of the change a single year can bring to a family.
I remember last Thanksgiving . . .
it was just our little family
you, me, our five-year-old son.
Without much money, a feast was impossible
So we had stuffing; you made pork chops,
and all three of us filled our stomachs.
Trudging upstairs, little man exclaimed
“Mom and Dad, that was great!
My belly feels full!”
As we climbed to the top step
we ushered him into the bathroom,
bubbles piled in the tub.
He jumped in, bubbles crashed and popped
you and I snuck a look at each other, chuckling.
I knew we both thought that although we didn’t have much,
we had each other. That was the miracle
of Thanksgiving. To me, anyhow.
The fact that our daily struggle culminated
once a year into a day of reflection
and gratefulness that we still
held each other every night and
we made it through another year.
This year, nothing remains . . .
Our family is gone.
I alone stand, barely upright,
heart reeling in my empty chest
knowing that this was the year that did us in
the year you gave up on me, on us.
I wonder where you’ll eat turkey this year.
Will you stop to think of me,
of him, in your mealtime prayer?
Or will you forge ahead, not
bothering to glance back
at the family you gave up?
Is it worth it to you
this new life you chose?
Is it exciting and fun, the way you
always wanted it to be?
Is it less of a struggle
with a greater return of love?
I have so many questions
that lie silent . . . not asked,
and of course, unanswered . . .
Are you thankful for the time we did have?
Or did you stop caring the day you stopped believing?
I’m still thankful for our family
for our past and for what’s ahead
in my future.
I’ll remember you in my heart
every day, every year
regardless of what you do.
Happy Thanksgiving, Sweetheart,
from my desolate soul to yours.