Thanksgiving to My Son

Turning Grief to Gratitude

On this Thanksgiving Day, I have, of course, thought of my son, Max Mallory. This is our first Thanksgiving without him.

But rather than grieve, I am going to give thanks. Sure, Max died from cancer at age 22. Way too young. Way too good-hearted to leave the world. Way too much talented to leave society. However, in May 2016 it was destined he would transfer to the other side.

So today I say, thank you, Max, for 22 wonderful years together.

I am thankful that you were an agreeable baby and child — who emulated your big brother, who listened and learned and turned out to be the best person you could be. When you were a baby I would look into your eyes and think how knowing they seemed. Perhaps I recognized then you were an old soul.

I am thankful for the many times in your childhood we played in the park, both of us on the swings, or me watching while you played with your friends. There were a lot of times we played together, not just at the park, but at home with action figures and toys. You were the playmate I never had in my own childhood.

I am thankful how amenable you were to changing schools, moving from one city to a second to a third, and how you were always accepting of changes in our lives.

I am thankful you never had to see ugliness in our family. Though you were in were in first grade when we divorced, as a family we always agreed to always live in the same city, share parenting, and help each other. There were no fights, no angst. We even shared all our holidays together. Until you went to college we’d never lived 1o miles apart.

I am thankful you had such a good time in college, made so many friends, worked hard and got a job right after college. I’m proud that you published in a professional journal before you even graduated with a bachelor’s degree. As you said when you were sick, “If the worst does happen, I’ve had some good times and have done a lot that I wanted to do.”

I am thankful you tried so hard to fight cancer, and also glad you did not have to suffer when the time came. You were a strong soldier against disease — the bravest person I’ve ever met. I am thankful for the long talks we had in the hospital, sometimes long into the night.

I am thankful for all the times we laughed and smiled, the times we hugged, for every moment with you.

I am also thankful — and tonight remember strongly — of a summer night when we were out in the yard. You were about four years old. The moon was full and bright and when you noticed it you reached up with both hands toward it and shouted, “My moon! My moon!”

I am thankful for deep beauty like that…things I will remember until I take my own last breath. I love you, Max.