My family would all sit in the living room on Thanksgiving. We’d stare out the windows and occasionally smile at each other awkwardly, in between stuffing our faces with shrimp, nuts, and the usual turkey fixings. Some of us would sit with our legs crossed and hold a drink, other turkeys would walk around the living room looking for the next nothing to put together, nothing too terrifying.

What is terrifying for me around Thanksgiving, however, isn’t the reminder that I won’t have another family to share my daily life with and be thankful for, since I have friends that I consider mine now, but that as time goes on it’s getting more difficult to remember the details concerning the family I’ve lost, and I worry that when I want and maybe need to remember them to secure a sense of identity, I won’t be able to.

These days the self seems like a picture in a shop window that fades over time in the sunlight until one day it’s just a silhouette of what was, of having been. I think this is because even if I were to come down from my wall of forgetfulness and fading sight, and find some details to crawl into and have a new experience in, I wouldn’t find a familiar feeling to scallop myself under and grow roots through.

It’s why I’m so grateful I still have a memory of Grandpa looking through me on Thanksgiving, like he knew, whether I showed up or not, I would be the final thing he would want to see, like he knew this oldest grandson would be the one he’d want to fade alongside. Then again, maybe I just like thinking that because it feels like he’s still here with me now, and I don’t know if I can digest that.