A heart wrenching Thanksgiving

This was a difficult Thanksgiving for our family. There were tears as we grieved together, but there was laughter and joy as well. The happier moments I’ll share later this week. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Earlier this year my step-grandmother had a stroke. She has mostly recovered from the stroke, but it delayed her hip replacement surgery which means that she is in so much pain she can hardly move. Which meant that instead of our normal Thanksgiving at the beach, everyone came here to Memphis (because she and my grandfather live just outside Memphis). After a year of so much traveling, it was great for us not to travel, but a little sad not to all be staying together in one big house. But for us, it was more important to be together during the day (even staying at different homes at night) than it was for only some of us to go down to the beach. But we hated seeing her in so much pain. To know she is suffering so much and there’s just so little that can be done for her. My heart just breaks for her and my grandfather during this time. We knew going into this Thanksgiving that it would be sad, but we had no idea how much more was coming.

The weekend before Thanksgiving my little sister called me from China. It’s her story to tell so I won’t go into details, but she spent three hours on the phone that night telling us why she was about to break up with her boyfriend. It wasn’t long ago that they were making plans for a life together and now, the relationship is over. My heart just breaks for her. She is literally on the other side of the planet and has no family  there to love on her. She has lost her best friend and all the hopes for a future with him are now shattered. I hate that she is going through this, but more than anything I hate that she is alone. Oddly enough I sent her a random care package a little over a month ago (mail takes a loooong time to get there) and it happened to arrive just a couple of days after she broke up with her boyfriend. It was a random perfect timing thing that I was so grateful for. Our family grieves with her over a relationship that meant so much to her. And our hearts break for her as she deals with this so far away from her support system.

And then on the Monday before Thanksgiving, we received heart wrenching news. Christopher’s brother & sister-in-law (Michael & Katy) had just found out they had lost their baby. Their little girl was stillborn the night before Thanksgiving.  There are no words for the grief we felt when we found out. And no words we could offer them for comfort in a time like that. We offered to come down and be with them, but the way we could best serve them was to take care of Christopher & Michael’s parents. Michael and Katy had originally planned to spend the holiday with the boys’ parents so when they found out they lost the baby, they were concerned about the parents being alone over Thanksgiving. Glad to have a tangible way to help out, we were more than happy to have Christopher’s parents join my extended family for Thanksgiving. My mother-in-law needed someone to grieve with (my father-in-law has dementia and doesn’t exactly understand what is going on). And truthfully, having her here helped us as we grieved the loss of our niece. My family was very understanding and heart broken as well, but my mother-in-law felt the loss as acutely as we did.

Christopher and I have lost 4 nieces or nephews (3 of the miscarriages happened before the gender was known). I don’t talk about it here because I try not to share stories that aren’t my own. Even when they impact us so heavily. But since my sister-in-law is sharing her story on her blog, I feel a little more free to talk about it here. You guys know just how much Christopher and I adore our nieces and nephews. We love them with a fierce and protective sort of love. The first time I met my oldest nephew, Christopher was standing there right beside me. He has known every one of them just as long as I have. And he has watched them grow and loved them long before we were ever even married. And with every child that one of our siblings has lost, our hearts have grieved with them. This past week has been no exception. It has been an emotionally difficult Thanksgiving week.

Yesterday morning in church, our pastor wrapped up the last sermon on the series in Revelation he has been preaching (less hell fire and brimstone and  a lot more “God Wins” sort of preaching). He was preaching on Revelation 21 & 22. Those might be two of the most encouraging chapters in the Bible. Because in the end – God wins. He makes all things right again. And our pastor even specifically referenced how this part of Revelation echoes Isaiah 65. And as he began to read it, tears started flowing down my face:

“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth… I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people. The sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years…” (Isaiah 65:17-25)

Oh how that part touched my heart. There is a day coming when all will be made right. And we will never again lose a niece or nephew or child or friend’s child. When pain and sorrow will be no more. Revelation may seem like it’s all about hell fire and brimstone, but I see hope. Because Jesus wins.

Please be in prayer for our family. For my step-grandmother as she is in so much pain and for my grandfather as he cares for her. For my sister as she suffers heartbreak so far away from family. For my brother-in-law & sister-in-law as they grieve the loss of their daughter. And for our family as we grieve the loss of our niece/granddaughter. Thanks, sweet friends.
Love Rach


47 responses to “A heart wrenching Thanksgiving

  1. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry for all of this that hit you guys at once. I especially felt connected to the paragraph about your sister. Life has a crazy way of throwing multiple things on us at once, but in the end we always come out stronger. Praying for you and your family!! ❤

  2. Oh hunnie! I am so sorry to hear of all of these tragic events. My heart is breaking for every single one of you. Please know y’all in my prayers. Sending you the biggest virtual hug possible xo

  3. Oh friend. So many prayers and virtual hugs going your way. What a heartbreaking few days. Thoughts of well wishes and prayers for all of you.

  4. My thoughts are with you and your family. 😦

  5. I am so sorry to hear about all of these family tragedies, Rach! When it rains, it pours. I’ll definitely be keeping you in my prayers!

  6. Thank you for sharing your heart Rach…I will be praying for your family!

  7. Oh dear Rach, I can understand how hard this is. But I’m so happy that God spoke to you through that verse. Definitely He wins. Until “that” day, let’s stay strong and face it all with God by our side. Take good care. My prayers will always be with you and your family. Sending you much love!

  8. What a rough season for you guys! Will definitely be praying for you guys and your family members. I can’t imagine all that heartache. 😦

  9. I’m soooo sorry to hear this!!! I know that Chris’ brother and sister and law have been trying really hard to have a baby. Will be praying for you and your family. Love you

  10. I am so sorry for everything your family has had to go through recently. Thinking of you! XOXO

  11. Rach, my dear friend. My heart hurts for you and what your family is going through. I’m so sorry for all of this hardship your family has been facing during this season, but I love, love, love that verse in Isaiah and you are right. God always wins. Praying for peace and comfort for you and your family. Love you. XO

  12. So sorry y’all have had such a rough time and a hard Thanksgiving. Thinking about you and your family!


  13. Rach! I will be praying for you family!!! You have so much LOVE and SUPPORT, but that doesn’t make hard times like these any easier. I’m so glad you have a hope in God to lean on and to share. I’m seeking Him with you and for you!

    • Thank you so much for your prayers, Victoria. We are definitely so very grateful for all the support we have! I can’t imagine going through this without Godly friends to walk beside us and pray with us through this. Thanks for being one of those friends!

  14. I’m so sorry, Rach. You and your family are definitely in my prayers. ♥


  15. Oh girl, I’m so sorry to hear this! I can only imagine what a difficult Thanksgiving it must have been for your family with all of those things going on. Love you, and praying for you and your family!!

  16. oh, my sweet friend.
    i am praying for your family.
    there really are no words for the weight of loss and sorrow. ❤

  17. oh rachel, my heart goes out to you and to your family. what an awful week. i’m saying a prayer for your grandmother, your sister, and your sister-in-law.

  18. My thoughts, prayers, and ❤ go to you and your sweet family. I'm so very sorry for your sadness and loss this past week.

  19. So sorry to hear that you and your family are going through such a difficult time right now, and everything at once, nonetheless. My thoughts are with you and your family! xoxo

  20. I am so sorry to hear about all of this heartbreak your family is going through. Sending love and hugs and prayers your way, friend.

  21. oh no! my heart goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. hugs times a million!

  22. I am SO sorry to hear about this. 😦 My heart is breaking for you and your family! Know that you’re in my prayers!! I’m so glad that you have each other during this difficult time… It doesn’t take the pain away, but it is helpful to know that you’re not facing it alone.
    Sending lots of love and hugs!!!

  23. I am sorry to hear all of this. Praying for you and your family!

  24. Pingback: That time my father-in-law danced |

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