Thursday, February 24, 2022

20 Seconds of Courage: How a Simple Yes Lessens Grief

 by Beth Saadati

Person, Woman, Girl, Human, Pleasure 

I yanked the iPhone from my ear and stared at the screen. A long pause ensued before the chat resumed.

“He’s coming . . . when?” I asked. 

My middle daughter answered matter-of-factly. “The Friday before Thanksgiving.”

“How long does he want to stay?”

“Something like ten days.”

“But your brother will be on a camping trip and at school half that time. And you’ll be away at college until Tuesday. That leaves just Dad and me.”

“He said that’s okay.”

My words vanished. I couldn’t imagine a college sophomore from Germany, whom I hardly knew, would ever want to. This was all so unexpected. Absolutely awkward. Wildly weird. Kind of, well, crazy.

Then again, I had extended the spontaneous invitation. My offer had been one hundred twelve percent sincere. But when he laughed and instantly replied with, “Thanks, but I could never accept that,” I figured this year’s Thanksgiving would be my family’s new normal—laced with the same deathly silence of my oldest daughter’s absence I’d endured for the past eight holiday seasons without her here.  

“Lukas might be miserable the first five days,” I finally told Christa, “but tell him he’s welcome to come.”