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The Day After

A Thanksgiving I will Remember

By Dana CrandellPublished 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - November 2023
The Day After
Photo by Rirri on Unsplash

The air's a little heavy today. A winter storm blew in overnight and a bitter wind is reminding me that it's the end of November and the end of another year is just around the corner.

My heart's a little heavy today, too. Mostly because yesterday, we had Thanksgiving dinner with the family. I know that should be a good thing, and it was. My siblings, our spouses and our kids, along with some of their kids had a wonderful meal and shared a few great memories, along with some laughs.

It was everything Thanksgiving should be. One of my nephews had the honor of hosting it at his new home this year and he worked hard to make it special. My sister drove down from Colorado and brought my beautiful niece with her. One I havent seen for several years. Another nephew brought his delightful new ladyfriend to introduce her and she effortlessly blends right in as one of us.

The food was incredible, the company was perfect and the only thing that dampened the atmosphere momentarily was my refusal to tell the Bus Driver joke. I wasn't drinking, or I might have been persuaded. We didn't stay late; people had things to do today, so everyone headed home well before sundown and the edge of the storm came.

So, with everything going so right yesterday, why am I down today? There's a short list of reasons, and of course, I've taken to Vocal to "air them out" in the hopes that it will help lighten the load a bit. Selfish, I know, to take out my holiday depression on the friends that support me here, but I know that many of you have felt your own version of it and will understand.

One of the hard things about family gatherings is that they remind us who's missing. Yesterday marked the third Thanksgiving without Mom. My nephew, Brandon and brother-in-law, Arnold, are gone, too. There have been other losses, but those are the ones that I notice the most. If you've followed my writing, you'll have some idea why.

The other thing that hit hard is that yesterday will be the last Thanksgiving Pam and I will be spending here without the need to plan a 700-mile trip. The move back to Wyoming will be a good thing for us. Kids and grandkids are there. The fishing is there. The scenery and fresh air and my heart are there. My family will not be. Some good friends will not be.

I am the youngest of the siblings and I'm no longer young. We are all in various stages of decay, and cancer is contributing to that in one of us. That trip will seem longer with every passing year, and it was a rare occasion for my siblings to visit us when we lived there before, a couple of decades ago. I hope that we'll "meet in the middle" at my sister's home as we did back then, but I know the occasions will grow fewer as time passes.

It's only fair to say that Pam has been separated from her family for a long time and she will be able to spend time with her kids and grandkids when we're back in Casper. My son is also there and I miss him. My daughter and grandkids will be just as far away as they are now. Visiting Pam's parents will be a long drive, too, and one we haven't taken in far too long.

So, today, I'm a little self-absorbed, a little teary-eyed, and the weather sucks. I'm no less thankful for the blessings I have, and I know they're many. Life will move on, and I'll take it a day at a time.

Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit brighter.


Thanks for listening!

siblingsimmediate familyHolidaygriefgrandparentsextended familyCONTENT WARNINGchildren

About the Creator

Dana Crandell

Dad, Stedpad, Grandpa, Husband, lover of Nature and dogs.

Poet, Writer, Editor, Photographer, Artist and Tech/Internet nerd. Content writer by trade. Vocal Creator by choice.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  4. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (32)

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  • Mike Singleton - Mikeydred2 months ago

    Excellent piece

  • John P. Creekmore2 months ago

    Well done. The C word has taken a few of my family as well so I feel your pain. But the writing does help, keep doin you. 😎

  • L.C. Schäfer3 months ago

    That sounds tough. Holidays really do underscore loss and grief. Happier moments will come back around though. They are sure to, with so many loved ones and good memories.

  • Alexander McEvoy3 months ago

    It's never easy to be far from family. I just recently got home from a trip to visit my grandparents (now well into their seventies) and my uncle and cousins. I hadn't seen the latter in two years, and my how they've all changed and grown! It makes me a little sad, every time I meet with them, knowing that their years are steadily ticking down. But I just force myself to remember that those are years where I'll hopefully get to see them many many more times before the sand in the hourglass runs out. Sending you all the love and care that a relative stranger on the internet can, Dana! (and happy American Thanksgiving)

  • Heather Hubler3 months ago

    Sending hugs to you! It's so different how we experience things the older we get. It used to be all about the present when I was young, living in the moment. Now? One foot in the past, missing when the kids were younger and before age and disease took some family members. And one foot in the future, looking at what will inevitably change. I'm so happy you had a wonderful day, but also know how easy it can be to dwell on what change means anymore. Thank you for sharing :) ~Little Siss

  • I feel you. I see my parents only every couple years. But happiness is in the heart and so are family they go with you every where you go even when they’re not there. Thanks for sharing this heartfelt piece

  • Xine Segalas3 months ago

    I get it - I think a lot of people can understand and feel exactly the way you do. Holidays can be rough for many reasons - missing loved certainly stand out. Today is my first birthday without my father or mother in my life - you'd think that at 59 it wouldn't sting as much but it does. Inch by inch - step by step. Congratulations on your top story.

  • PK Colleran3 months ago

    This really resonated with me, Dana, especially this Thanksgiving. Two empty chairs at our table. And as you wrote, life moves on and we'll take it one day at a time. 💕 Great Top Story.

  • Salman siddique3 months ago

    loved it!!!

  • Paul Stewart3 months ago

    You don't need to apologise for airing your feelings out and thoughts and getting them off your shoulders a bit. I don't do most major holidays for various reasons, but on reason that I am glad about is that reminder of those that have passed. Well done on writing this with your usual, relatable flair and congrats on a well deserved Top Story. Been on a sorta hiatus from Vocal, but not really, so catching up slowly! Loved this, always appreciate your honest and heartfelt wriitng, sir!

  • KJ Aartila3 months ago

    Thank you for sharing this - many of us can relate. :)

  • Donna Fox (HKB)3 months ago

    This was so well written Dana!! It's just one of those things, you can't really know joy without having experienced sadness too. Thank you for sharing this with us! Well done and congrats on Top Story!!

  • Prayers & blessings.

  • Gerald Holmes3 months ago

    Well said my friend. I understand. As life moves on people go their way in life and the separation can be difficult at times.

  • J. S. Wade3 months ago

    Beautifully penned and expressed Dana! Missing family members is difficult. Changes are the blending chaos of loss and gain. But, but, but, you said “fishing!” That balances out almost everything. 😎

  • Rachel Deeming3 months ago

    Oh man. It's hard. You're right. Family gatherings can be bitter sweet when people who should be there and always have been in the past make a vacuum by their absence. But you're moving to make memories with the younger part of your family, new and exciting ones and that is something to look towards. Anticipation is everything and it is on the Wyoming horizon! Good luck with the move and I hope that today is a bit brighter. Congrats on the TS too. This was beautifully written by the way, honest and reflective.

  • Congratulations Dana. Loved this

  • Real Poetic3 months ago

    Sending you lots of love and hugs during the holiday season! 🩵🩵🩵

  • Diana Penn3 months ago

    We will sure miss y’all. We will have to make the most of it - and will plan for sure. God has it - and all will work out. True story. Love you bro.

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Wonderfully written!!! It's a beautiful bittersweet reflective holiday story!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    Sending virtual hugs, my friend. The holidays are always dressed with a little melancholy and nostalgia once we reach the realization that we're not going to around forever. It seems there's more people to miss every year. Thanks for sharing. I get it.

  • Kristen Balyeat3 months ago

    Sending lots of love your way, my friend. I can completely understand that heaviness—I always feel the absence of those who are missing. You have a lot of change happening, a lot to carry. Give yourself permission to sit with it. One thing I've recently come to is that love, anticipation, excitement, joy, and grief can all sit at the table together. They each have their place. Thank you for sharing with us so we can send extra love and support and hold the space for you from a distance.

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    Great going! Keep up the fantastic effort

  • I don't think writing this here is selfish or self absorbed. I mean, we're all friends here and we stick together through times of happiness and sadness. It's not fair that you wanna only share the joy but keep the sorrow for yourself, right. You can always write anything you want and we would always be here with you. I'm so sorry for those who are no longer here and for the person who has cancer. Sending you lots of love and hugs ❤️ Also, what's the Bus Driver joke and why didn't you wanna tell it?

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