Giving Thanks For Family On Earth and Those In Spirit

For most Americans, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of family coming together and sharing a delicious meal celebrated in gratitude, laughter, and memories. The wafting scents of honey-glazed candied yams and warm cinnamon pumpkin pie rouse a dichotomy of comfort, as well as a bit of trepidation in me. Although I enjoy seeing my family and spending time with all of them, there are many different personalities and we don’t always blend like the brush strokes of an oil painting . Sometimes I encounter conflict during the holidays with my siblings, but I wanted this year to be different.

As I stood in the back of my church at Mass this past Sunday and prayed to God for guidance, my passed-on maternal grandmother, Nanny, visited me.  Her soothing, loving energy vibrated gently by my side and I heard her whisper in my ear, as I watched the other parishioners file down the isle for Communion.  She reminded me of how lucky I am to have a family. She suggested that instead of focusing on the differences, I should try imagining what the holidays would be like if I didn’t have any family.  This thought conjured a bleak image with me sitting at a long empty table in a gray-dipped room and a cloud-filled ceiling.  She challenged me for Thanksgiving to just accept everyone as a soul of light, be present, and thankful that they’re there to celebrate as a family. I accepted her challenge, although I had some hesitation as to whether or not it would help me evade discord.

Nanny asked if we could take some time at dinner and have each person give thanks for a living family member as well as one that had crossed over.  At first I didn’t realized why she asked me to share this task, but after Mass, it came to me.  The first thing she said during Mass was that I was lucky to have a family to celebrate the holidays with me.  Her task made me wonder if it would be easier to think of the crossed over family members more than the living?  Do we only appreciate people when they’re gone?  The revelation hit me like a strong wind and rippled through my soul. I sent her thoughts of gratitude for her visit and her wise advice.

On Thanksgiving, all seventeen of us participated in Nanny’s exercise and shared many smiles as well as a few tears. It catalyzed a discussion of family both living and passed-on uniting us in our memories and laughter.  Family palates come in all shapes, sizes, and incorporate myriads of colorful traits.  I learned yesterday that our differences unite us as part of a whole, for it is these uniquities that bring color, vibrancy, and variety–creating a family masterpiece. When can get caught up in family differences, we only see the many brush strokes and varied spots of color in front of our eyes.  Thank God for our family in the spirit realm that remind us to take a step back and view the work of art–the bigger picture.  Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to be grateful for those who are living and those who have passed because they fill our lives with love.

Love and light,


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