I know what it is but I don't want to think about it, I don't want to remember...
Has it really been two years?
I went outside, it is cool, not cold. Leaning against my car in front of the house, the sunshine, blue skies and unmistakable smells of early winter
in the air. I've been absorbed into my work since that last thanksgiving through Christmas in 2014. The sense of what is missing today is
overwhelming. It is everywhere, especially here and now, in this place, our home, her home. In the trees in the yard near me, in the unused car in the
driveway, I don't want to go inside, not yet.
There is something moving near the front of my car, I see the shadow. It's that cat, the one that hates me and the feeling is mutual. The cat steps
out and looks at me, it's an odd moment because I can tell that it misses her too. I take my phone out, not sure what compelled me but I go to my
voicemail, select saved messages and it's still there, I click on it, turn on speaker and hit play..."it's just me, mom, not no emergency or anything,
gimme a call when you can love you bye".
So good to hear that voice again, the cat heard it too and was excitedly looking everywhere to see where she was...
I remember, though I don't want to, I remember that last thanksgiving in 2014...
It was different and difficult that year because mom had been diagnosed with terminal cancer months before. She knew she was sick and, because she had
watched her best friend go through it she decided that she didn't want to go through surgery or chemo just for a chance of extending her life a while
longer. She accepted her fate and faced it without fear, of course I tried to convince her to go with surgery and treatment. She was unmoved. She
didn't want a doctor to give her a "death sentence". She didn't want to know.
That last thanksgiving was tough, but also wonderful. She was unable to cook, but she was more than capable of instructing everyone else on how to
prepare the traditional and her original recipes. I remember when we all sat for that feast, mother's great grandson was sitting near me, he was very
close to his great grandmother. Had been most of his brief life as his mother (my niece) lived near my mother, and she watched him often for her. I
asked him what he wanted to be when he grows up his answer left no dry eyes in the house. He said "I want to be a doctor" I asked why a doctor? "So I
can make my neenee better" he called her "my neenee" and he began to cry, no one told the little guy she was terminally ill, but he knew.
The family spent the rest of that day as we had so many thanksgivings before, it was wonderful as usual, until it came time for everyone that had to
go to leave. Saying goodbye was quite different that year.
My mother had an impact on so many lives, she has so many kids, grandkids and great grandkids, but also so many people in her life that she worked
with in her job for decades, they too were her "family". Everyone depended on her in some way or another, usually for guidance and advice. She loved
so many, and all loved her too.
She passed away in early December of that year, in my sister's arms with most of us nearby. She was ready, she had her hair done, she didn't want to
have a "bad hair day". She was comfortable, peaceful and her last words were "I love you too" to my sister before she drew her last breath.
I skipped thanksgiving and Christmas last year, but here I am now. I know what is missing. I'm going back inside soon, as soon as I can control the
tears I held back for so long.
I know what is missing, my mother's physical presence. But I just realized that her spirit is very much alive, and here now and within so many lives.
Even her recipes are being used to prepare dinner. It will never be quite the same, but it is surprisingly close now. Everyone is talking about her,
stories, sharing memories, smiling laughing and crying.
It's going to be the saddest and most wonderful thanksgiving.
edit on 24-11-2016 by ausername because: (no reason given)