It has been one year. Nov. 28 was the first anniversary of my father’s (Gary Blomgren) death. It happens to land on Thanksgiving Day this year.

I have been trying to write this thank you letter for a year now. Even as the shame, guilt and embarrassment piled up at not being able to complete this task, I just couldn’t. I reminded myself that Dad would be appalled at my lapse of manners. It didn’t matter. Every time I sat down to write this, the grief was paralyzing. By now, I must be a Platinum Customer for Kleenex.

I sincerely apologize for being unable to do this sooner. I would like to thank the following individuals and organizations:

Dr. Thomas H. Lewis, surgeon, for your compassionate use of truth; Agnes Mikijaniec, NP and the Oncology Department at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital; Bayada Hospice Care; Capt. Karen Rancourt and Chris Finnell of Rescue, Inc; Hotel Pharmacy; those who participated in Meal Train; the folks at WSESU; Eternal Blessings Crematory; The Commons; the Reformer; Lotus Graphics; Amy’s Bakery; Susanna Griefen; Dan Heller; Bill Warriner; and all the gracious musicians who shared their gifts with us at the memorial.

Thank you to friends and neighbors for taking care of us in so many ways: snowplowing, cards, flowers, food, notes, hugs and more Kleenex.

And then there is BUHS, Dad’s home away from home. Thank you to all staff, students and teachers. You went far beyond anything we could have dreamed of. The acts of love, kindness and support were like the stars, too numerous to count. The cliché is true. Thank you to the Art Department: Liz DiNord, Dave Mazor, Richard Heller, Braelyn Ingvoldstad, Kathleen Sweeney, and Karen Trenosky. Finally, Principal Steve Perrin, I cannot find words rich enough to thank you.

I am certain I have forgotten many, but how could I not? The response in our time of need was simply stunning. Please, it does not mean I am any less grateful; just that I am human. I am sorry.

Thanksgiving in our family is truly a family day. OK, food and football make an appearance too. And yet this Thanksgiving will mark the first year without Dad. How can I be thankful for that? How can I reconcile the loss of someone so loved on a day that is set aside specifically for being thankful?

The answer is; I can’t. I am neither grateful nor thankful for his death and the aftermath but this initial Thanksgiving without Dad, I am thankful for two things. The first is unhindered and pure. I am so very grateful to every single person who saw my family through.

The second is more complicated. From Maya Angelou’s poem When Great Trees Fall, "And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly. Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration. Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us. They existed. They existed. We can be. Be and be better. For they existed."

Be and be better. For they existed. This is the second thing I will be thankful for this Thanksgiving: that he existed and I can be better for it. Let it be so.

Jennifer Blomgren,

Nov. 28

***

Editor of the Reformer:

On behalf of the Jessica Bolognani Scholarship Fund and the Gus Conmy Cancer Fund, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following for their role in making the Harlem Superstars comedy basketball fundraiser a roaring success. First and foremost, Donna Brown who once again arranged overnight accommodations for the Superstars at the Grand Summitt Hotel at Mount Snow. Without this donation there would be no game/event. Thank you to Donna, the Grand Summitt and Mount Snow.

In addition, thanks to Maryann Lozito who ran gate sales; Cammie Swanson and the TVHS Booster Club for providing food/drink; Jen Nilsen for assisting with souvenir sales at the last minute; the 11 seniors who played the Superstars, and the 300 plus spectators who came and supported two very worthwhile causes.

Buddy Hayford,

AD, Twin Valley Hight School, Nov. 22

***

Editor of the Reformer:

The faculty, staff and students at New England Youth Theatre, as well as our entire extended NEYT family, send BIG, BIG thanks to the generous folks at The Hatch for their generosity to NEYT and the community at large. Their recent event, "Storytellers on a Mission," brought world-class artists to Brattleboro and helped raise money on behalf of our theater.

It was a thrill to sit in the newly renovated Latchis and be surrounded with such a buzz of support for NEYT, not to mention enjoying two hours of extraordinary talent. The Hatch is truly benefiting Windham County by putting the fun back into FUNdraising. Thanks to the Hatch’s vision, the hundreds of supporters who came to the show, a recent grant, and the proceeds of The Mentor Cabaret, NEYT will make its final payment on our mortgage this year! We could not have done this without you.

To the founders of The Hatch, the performers, the Latchis staff and absolutely everyone involved in "Storytellers On A Mission," thanks again and best of luck on the next show!

The NEYT Family,

Nov. 22

***

Editor of the Reformer:

Our Place Drop-in Center recently held its most successful Empty Bowl event, thanks in large part to the generosity of the potters who donated bowls, the merchants, and individuals who donated items for the auction, the restaurants who provided soups, the volunteers who provided everything from beautiful music to manual labor, and the enthusiastic crowd who emptied their wallets under the expert tutelage of our superstar auctioneer, Sharon Boccelli.

Special thanks go to our sponsors, Windham Antique Center, Sharon Boccelli & Company auctioneers, Morrison & Tyson Communications, L.A. Burdick Chocolates, Robinson Sales, the Bellows Falls Rotary Club, Wunderle’s Big Top Adventures, SEVCA Weatherization and Vermont Academy, who helped us raise more than $21,000 to support the food shelf and daily meals at Our Place that benefit our neighbors who struggle to put food on their family tables.

John Bohannon,

chairman,

Our Place Drop-in Center Board

Bellows Falls, Dec. 6

***

Editor of the Reformer:

The Guilford Cares Food Pantry serves and average of 27 families each week. At Thanksgiving we provided all the groceries needed for a complete Thanksgiving dinner for 30 families.

Through the generosity of Hannaford’s Supermarket and its manager, Art Messenger, the Pantry was able to provide turkeys for that holiday meal and gift cards for Christmas to those who use our service. We are greatly appreciative of their generosity and support.

Pat Haine,

Director, Guilford Cares Food Pantry, Dec. 19