It’s a little early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, but as I wrote the title for this post I realized that maybe November 24th (I think that’s when the holiday falls this year) would be a good goal date for me.
I’m in the midst of writing thank-you notes. I realize that there are some of you out there who fall on either end of the thank-you writing continuum. Some of you probably think that I don’t need to worry about writing them, it’s an old-fashioned habit or our loss entitles me to skip this task. Others of you are probably equally horrified by that last statement and the fact that I’m not done writing them yet. Well, I fall into the middle somewhere.
When Jonah died, I’ll be honest, I let this task slide (the second group of you is now gasping for air). I didn’t even write thank-you notes for the gifts I received at my baby shower. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was physically exhausted from giving birth/post pregnancy, emotionally exhausted from the shock, and just plain at a loss for what to do. So I didn’t do anything. I didn’t even read the sympathy cards until a year had passed, just opened them to see who they were from, closed them and put them in a box. It was too hard to read the words people shared.
Maybe it’s a maturity thing. Maybe it’s a matter of this second loss being expected for weeks before it happened. Maybe I’m just different now. When we had Jonah, I was 25. Now I’m 33. I know there are a lot of differences between these two decades of my life. Maybe that’s it. I don’t know, and I’m not going to dwell on it. The point is that I firmly believe that the thank-you notes need to be written, but I’m not going to pressure myself to get it done super fast. I try to aim for writing five a day. It’s about all my hand can handle before cramping up, and it’s about the maximum I can do while maintaining a personal touch in writing them. If I wrote more (in speed or volume) I would end up writing the same note over and over with a different name at the top. That’s not really thanking the person, in my opinion.
It’s slow going, and I try not to look at how many are still on the list. Meanwhile, I did mail the first batch out, and will continue to mail them as I finish them. They are in alphabetical order because I’m a firstborn and that’s how I do things. So if your last name starts with a Z, please know I will get to you eventually. As far as the church thank-yous, I’m writing them and saving them on my desk until I finish them all, then I’m putting them in the church mailboxes. I’d rather not risk offending someone whose name is farther down the alphabet.
I don’t know if my plan is a good one or not, or if it makes sense. Ideally I’d like to be done by the time we go to New York in October for a friend’s wedding, but I don’t know if that’s realistic. For sure I want to be done giving thanks to our friends and family (and the strangers who sent us gifts) by the time we give thanks to God for the harvest. Not that we’re farmers or anything.
As a side note: Please know that we are so thankful for everything everyone has done for us. I didn’t always remember to write down when someone brought us a meal or ran an errand for us. It bothers me that I didn’t, because my brain did not hold onto the information, and I am afraid I may miss some folks who gave to us out of the goodness of their hearts. I am saying it here to you, and will also put something in our church newsletter about it:
Thank you. By caring for us the way you did, you spared us the worry of cooking/shopping/having enough money. Please let me let go of the worry of not thanking you properly or personally. I had to focus on my daughter while she was still with us, and my oversight of your gift is not a reflection on you personally or how I feel about you, but on my overfilled brain not being able to store much beyond her medication schedule and dosage. Thank you for letting me just focus on her and for your selfless act of kindness. God bless you.