I realize Thanksgiving is a non religious holiday. Still, and possibly because of families being together, it is one that causes many moments of prayer, gratitude and thanks. We usually have a really large gathering of people; some are relatives while others are just people we care about and who have merged into our family. There are my immediate family of course, some cousins, some sister in laws, a sitter who cared for one of our elderly parents, and dearest friends. This year our numbers began dwindling the week before Thanksgiving. One dropout was due to a small family spat (which was later resolved and forgotten via phone after dinner). One couple recently learned of the probable illness of the husband; possibly quite serious but still unknown at this point; so they weren’t feeling the dinner table crowd. My niece, the only child of my brother who was lost to suicide 5 years ago, was unable to make the trip because it was her in-laws turn. We missed her and her husband but at least she was with family. And the best of friends, had a more pressing family situation to deal with, a long last minute drive to aid his daughter. All had important reasons for not being able to join us, but they were all missed anyway. So after the family prayer, I said a silent prayer for each; one for health and strength, one to find purpose in her life, a daughter to have an easier road to travel, and more importantly, one that they will all be with us next year. Although they were not at the table, they are still a part of us. Each day, not just Thanksgiving, I need to say more prayers…you never know what the coming year will bring. Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was a blessed one.