being thankful {day 102}

The last few days people near and far have reached out to wish me strength and peace as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches. It will be tough, no doubt, and if you want real honesty, I'm terrified of waking up that day.

Not because I'm afraid of the tears that will be inevitable.

Not because of the heartbreak I carry as if the Grand Canyon has settled in my chest.

I'm worried because I know I need to be strong to preserve the beauty and love that my girls have come to expect during what has always been one of my favorite seasons. Every year I watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade with them, and try as I might, there is no holding back the tears that slide down my face as Santa's sleigh pulls into Herald Square.

Silly for a grown woman to admit, I know.

I believe that kindness outweighs the misery in the world, and something about that dude in the red suit, tiny specs resting on his cherry-red nose fills me with comfort and calm. It renews my belief that we are all born good, it just depends on the chances we are given, and take, as the layers of our life unfold.

As we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, instead of focusing on what we have lost, I will remind the girls of everything that enriches our lives. I will remind them to be thankful for the new warm blankets we just bought, for the apartment we now call home, for the love of friends and family.

And I will remind them that as cheated as we all feel, we must be thankful for having had Mikey in our lives, no matter how short the time felt. It will be hard for them to understand, I know. Heaven knows I don't "get-it" yet myself.

This year, as you plan your Thanksgiving meal, I'd like to ask everyone to take a moment and think about everything that you feel fortunate for in your life. Then, think about the millions of voids that will be on Thanksgiving tables around the country.

It may be someone like me, struggling with the loss of a husband or wife, but with the added worry of bills piling up. The Liz Logelin Foundation is there to help them.

Perhaps it's hope that someday, hopefully soon, a cure for pediatric cancer will be found. Join Gretchen and her family in honoring their son Liam's memory—the Glad company is matching donations up to $100,000, to Cookies for Kids' Cancer.*

And then, there are the empty plates that many families face because they cannot afford to feed themselves. For those men, women and children, I am very thankful that places like the Los Angeles Mission exist. I learned of it last year, when Diane and Todd created a moving video to highlight the work they are doing to help create more than just a meal—they are creating hope and a reason to keep on going each day. A donation of just $38.57 can help 19 people.

For those wishing they could help ease the heaviness in my heart this holiday season, please join me in making the world a better place. If you have a blog, write a post similar to this one, letting your readers, friends and family know how they can help make a difference.

Happy (early) Thanksgiving, and thank you for being such kind, caring people and joining me in my journey the last 102 days.

Disclosure: While I have no affiliation with Glad, I have been compensated by their parent company, Clorox, for my work as a spokesperson on the Love Your Veggies campaign.


  • Nina

    For this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many blessings in my life … and knowing you -through your blog- is one of them 🙂
    Happy Thanksgiving Jennie and all my love to your beautiful girls.
    Je vous embrasse tres fort.

  • Tina

    As much as you may rely on encouragement from your readers, we’ve come to rely on you for inspiration and strength for the day we may be faced with a similar challenge. You have become our champion and hero, and for this we are so thankful. Always graceful, always gracious… you are one in a million, JP. Sending you and your girls warm hugs for the holidays.

  • Tracey

    Hello Jennie,
    I know the holidays (especially the first set) are the hardest. The dread is so near and heavy. May God bless your days ahead and may you be able to recall the wonderful holidays in past, with some smiles as well as tears.
    Your journey is great, though be it long.
    Tracey A.

  • Rachel Willen@FoodFix

    I had a heart attack from a rare condition called SCAD that effects mostly women, young healthy women. just a few days after Mikey. I wrote about it on my blog, FoodFix. I said it then, remember it everyday, but I’ll say it again here. I am so grateful for the chance to survive mine…and anguish at the loss you and your girls have to deal with because Mike did not. Thanksgiving will be especially meaningful to my family this year…that’s why I’m doing 10 recipes for Thanksgiving in 10 days on my blog…for more info on SCAD…if anyone knows anyone who had a SCAD incident or think they might have…contact me through the blog…Mayo Clinic is doing a study that I am involved in…

  • SuzyMcQ

    Lisa said it so eloquently. That you are so giving at a time that many would remain introspective is an amazement and an inspiration. Sending warm thoughts, strength and prayers to you and yours for today, Thanksgiving and always……

  • Maria

    You know Jennie I am such a CHRISTmas lover as well, even though I probably shouldn’t be… our Dad died when I was 10 years old, he died on Dec.12,1965, he was playing Santa Claus at a UNICO dinner (which he was a member of) yes, my dad died of a massive heart attack at the age of 52 in a Santa suit. My mom a young widow just like you raised 5 kids by herself, he was the love of her life, it crippled her, but she put up a CHRISTmas tree that year, it was hard but she wanted to keep the love of CHRISTmas alive for us, she knew that my dad would have wanted it that way. Mom passed 2 years ago at 90, if I can be HALF the woman she was, my life will be blessed, she was a tough cookie, she had to be, she went through some tough times and came through it with grace and love in her heart, her family was everything to her. Nothing is easy in life…
    I don’t know if you will be able to post this but if your readers would like to help this Thanksgiving feed some less fortunate Pepto Bismal is donating 8 meals for just “liking” them on Facebook…
    and the nice thing about this is that there is no out of pocket expense, but people will be helped…
    thinking of you and the girls, try to have a nice holiday, I have to work on Thanksgiving, (I work at the Borgata casino in AC, NJ) but will have our family dinner on Wednesday… hugz…

  • Melissa

    I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by your girls and that you may find strength and peace within. Thank you for being an inspiration to others in sharing your thoughts and recipes.

  • andi winslow

    I will have you on my thoughts as Thanksgiving comes and goes. Keep strong. I will be making a peanut butter pie in honor of Mikey this thanksgiving day. Hugs to you all I think of you often and wonder how you are doing………..andi

  • Ann S. McCooey

    My “friend”, you are a beacon of hope for all of us. You have given us the ability to see into the raw open wounds of your family and as the other member said, you give us inspiration and strength. What a gift you are!!
    Death leaves behind so many “voids”, so many “dark nights of the soul”. We are left looking at empty chairs. We are left with reaching out to air. We are left calling out for one more day, one more hug, one more opportunity to make it different. It is the lack of a clearly defined answer that makes it ache more, that makes the absences more keenly felt. As the saying goes: to those that understand – no explanation is necessary, to those that don’t none is possible.
    You are amazing, you are a gift to all of us. Through your journey, you are helping us and helping us find pieces of solace.
    Hug those little girls and give yourself a hug from all us. You have brought so many of us together.
    Thank-you for your open, honest and heart-wrenching writings.
    I feel honored to be a member of this amazing site.
    May your Turkey Day be filled with a new memory that you will look back on with a laugh a smile.

  • Cheryl Arkison

    Thanksgiving has always been my favourite holiday because the sole purpose in the modern world seems to be to gather, reflect, and celebrate just being with people you care about. This is another great reminder.
    Wishing you many hugs, lump free potatoes, and lingering glasses of wine covered in tears of laughter too.

  • Mair

    Thank you for the deeply personal and poignant reminders of how precious this life is, and how quickly it can change in unimaginable ways. Your life story is told so beautifully honest and real and I’m grateful as I am learning so much from you – to more fully appreciate every moment I get to spend in the presence of those I love with every fiber of my being. You and your daughters are in my prayers. ((Virtual hug))

  • Kim in MD

    This was a beautiful post. Thank you for reminding me of all of the blessings in my life. I will be thinking of you during the upcoming holiday season, knowing how difficult this is going to be for you. As always, I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  • S@MakeHappy

    I have been faithfully following your blog since I stumbled across your Peanut Butter Pie for Mikey post. Little did I know that I would soon be struggling with my own losses and turning to your words for comfort in my own grief. My 91 year old grandmother passed about 6 weeks ago and, unexpectedly, my 31 year old brother was killed last week. Thank you for being brave enough to share your journey with us.

  • Margie

    I’m thankful for you, Jennie. Finding your site has reminded me that each of us walks a path defined by the unexpected. Sometimes we are eased into our transitions, at others, we are thrust head-on into mayhem. Kindness transcends, and thus, redeems.
    Peace to you and yours.

  • Cassie

    Jennie you have such an amazing amount of strength, you have come to inspire so many woman. I hope ya’ll have a good thanksgiving, I know that sounds bad seeing as it’s going to be hard, but I really hope ya’ll do. Many hugs & love sent ya’lls way!

  • A Facebook User

    Your post made me tear up and I’m sitting here at work. I’m sorry for what you are going through, but you have to believe your words help us not taking the people in our lives for granted. Thank you, Jennie, for making this world a better place by being you!