Bayard & Holmes
~ Piper Bayard
This is the week of the mass American pilgrimage. Thanksgiving, more than any other holiday, is the day we Americans travel home. It is the one holiday we all share, no matter what our religion. The day when we gather as families.
Some of us will have genuinely happy reunions. The stuff of Norman Rockwell.
Most of us will have mixed days. A bit of hassle and a family fuss getting out the door. Then we will roll our eyes at Uncle Freddie’s bad jokes and Aunt Marge complaining that the dressing is dry. But once everyone settles in for the football, it will all be good.
For some, though, Thanksgiving will be a gut-wrenching ordeal — an endurance test of dysfunctional abuse that demoralizes and convinces us that we deserve nothing from life but the crumbs of inadequacy and failed expectations.
Most people who persist in that brutal existence do so from habit and from the fear of change. But a brave few walk away into the unknown with the conviction that whatever lies ahead, it cannot be worse than the hell they left behind. They quit showing up for the beatings.
If you are having joyful reunions this week, we celebrate with you. Such family experiences are the source of strength that sustains us through life’s turmoil.
If you are biting your tongue in between hugs and laughter, we admire you for your tolerance and commitment. Such commitment is the foundation of civilization.
If you are suffering, our hearts and prayers go out to you in the hopes that one day, you too will get out.
And if you are one of the ones who walked away, we salute you. You will be alone this week, or with close friends, or with people you barely know who have unfamiliar traditions. If you have persevered down your lonely path, you may even be with a new family by now, making Norman Rockwell jealous.
We know what it took for you to walk away, and we count you as our family. Your “not being there” didn’t come for free, and we honor the price you pay each day. It never gets easy, but it does get better. This song says it all.
Wherever you are in Life’s pilgrimage this Thanksgiving,
we wish you peace.
Thank you for the warm thoughts. We wish you peace and good times as well, Happy Thanksgiving!
Hi Molly et al. Peace and happiness to you and your loves ones as well.
Thanks Piper. For this. Everyone will be at my house this year, so there will be lots of tongue-biting. I’m glad I’m in the kitchen; it’s actually a great place to hide. And yet I’m so grateful for my nieces and nephews. And I’ll look forward to Friday’s Thanksgiving with friends.
Sometimes I wish I drank more than ginger ale.
Hi Renee. “Sometimes I wish I drank more than ginger ale.” Well that’s one possibility. Another solution would be modifying the “offenders” drink.
May you and your loved ones have a great holiday season.
Ah Piper, you made me tear up. I’m one of the lucky ones whose life is filled with blessings and a lovely family; but I’ve known those who need to walk away, and those who have done so, and my heart aches for them. Sending you and Holmes Thanksgiving love and hugs!
All hugs (except from sumo wrestlers) are gratefully received. Have a great holiday.
What a wonderful Thanksgiving post, you two. And I hope you both have very happy Thanksgivings…wherever you might be celebrating!
Hello Laird. May you and your loved ones have a great Thanksgiving. Come to think of it, be daring. Be happy all year.
Happy Thanksgiving to you Piper! And big thank you for acknowledging those of us who have “walked away”.
Keeping it real. Such a scary thing to do, but in the end, there is no loss. Many blessings, Elizabeth. 🙂
I miss all the relatives I used to see at Thanksgiving. They’ve all passed and the remainder has moved on to seperate celebrations. For fifteen years I worked on Thanksgiving. I miss that too.
Maybe it’s time to recruit a new family. : )
Thank you so much for posting this. May we all find the courage to be happy.
Amen. Many blessings to you this holiday season. 🙂
Take care, travel safe, find peace, and smile. Happy turkey daze to all
Thank you Philosopher. You as well.
You covered everyone in this post in such a thoughtful way. Life isn’t always easy and as much as many of us celebrate this holiday in a happy, positive environment, the reality is that many don’t. You’ve managed to send a warm hopeful message to all. Celebrate well!
Thank You Patricia. Have a great Thanksgiving.
And don’t forget the real empty chairs–those spots around the table that belong to a loved one who is deployed. And you know, right now I also feel for the families who are separated by incarceration. No idea why that came to me, but it did. Many thanks. 🙂
Hi Texanne. Happy Thanksgiving.
Thank you Piper, for such a thoughtful blessing. I and my son will be both be working on Thanksgiving, and have to be away from my grand daughter and the rest of my family. Kind of depressing for me, but I still have much to be thankful for.
Hi Vila. I hope that you and your family can get a dayy off together for your own personal Thanksgiving Day. The date doesn’t matter. The family does.
To both of you, Piper and Holmes, a big thank you from one who indeed had to walk away. But I’ve found what was missing in my beloved in-laws, the best thing my dh left to me. May you both have the kind of Thanksgiving two people who were able to write such a post deserve.
Hi Justine. Thank you for your kind words. To be fair. Piper Did all the work on this post. She is in her “writer monk” mode now so I am trying to keep communication going with our kind readers.
May you have a great Thanksgiving.
Lovely post. I’m one that walked away and forged new traditions and new bonds. The trials and tribulations of life, the folks who can’t go home, are things to remember today. Bless the folks who have no homes due to the storms, God be with our military folk who are separated from families and home, and with all the people (shelter workers, nurses, doctors, police, firemen, etc.) who work on this day caring for others. Warmest wishes to everyone!
Beautifully said, Lynette. Bless those who left, those who didn’t, and those who would give anything to be home. 🙂
Piper, this could have been written for me. I walked away when I finally realized it was her (my mother) or me. It was scary to be on my own at 17, but there was no other way. And eventually I found my real family. 🙂
Bless your heart, Justine. I understand. It’s like chewing off a paw to save our lives, but once we let go, the most amazing things can fill that void if we let them. Thank you for sharing your experience. 🙂
Love this, Piper!! May everyone be with their family of choice this holiday, whether it happens to be their family of chance or not.
Thank you, Kassandra. Like you, I hope everyone will be with their family of choice, or at least not with a family that doesn’t treat them well.
If I like my family, I get to keep my family…My kind of plan. 🙂
LOL. Indeed. 🙂
This post is so very beautiful. I love it, and appreciate that you took the time and compassion to write it.
Thank you, Jen. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your precious, hard-won family.
Likewise, my friend. Likewise!
Australians don’t have a thanksgiving holiday, but 17 or so years ago, my ex and I decided no longer to have Christmas in Melbourne, where we live, and go to a holiday spot 3 hours drive away for the Xmas – New year week.We had just become sick of walking on eggshells on Christmas day, while we waited to see who could take offence at what somebody else said. It’s been one of my deepest regrets that I wasn’t born into a more functional family. Walking away was difficult, but it was better than going through that one more time.
Exactly. At a certain point there comes that conviction that, though we may not know what waits for us “over there,” staying “here” is no longer an option. *high five* Wishing a peaceful holiday season your way.
Thank you for this, Piper ❤️. Have a beautiful gathering with your family! ?
You’re so welcome. Sending a prayer your way. *big hug*
I have been very fortunate. Compared to some horror stories I’ve heard I’ve had it pretty good, although my family is by no means perfect. I have a lot of good holiday memories. Happy Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving, Michelle! I hope you had a wonderful day. I’m genuinely delighted that you have a loving family. *high five* *fist bump* *big hug*
I didn’t walk away forever, but I have from time to time drawn lines and enforced boundaries. It’s incredibly painful. It’s also freeing. Excellent post!
Thank you. Drawing those lines is definitely the key to freedom.
Thanks for this. It’s eloquent and thoughtful.
I’ll be spending Thanksgiving with my ex – an odd situation, but she’s still my best friend – and probably having some phone calls with my kids who live in other states.
Other than that, the family I’d want to be with have passed away, and the ones that are left are the ones I’ve left behind, the kind best loved from a safe distance. My analogy is Old Yeller tied to the tree after he got rabies – his family loved him, but they knew better than to get within biting range. Of course, the analogy breaks down at the point where they shoot him to end his misery . . . best just to send them kind thoughts and leave it at that.
Again, thanks for this post.
*big hug* We never finish paying the price of “not being there,” I think, but it’s still cheaper than being there. . . . I’m glad you and your ex are close. Exes can be the best of friends. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Thank You Sonia.