Thanksgiving, the holidays have arrived. I ask myself, “what stage of grief is this?”
Every holiday before this one has always been the 5 of us. Sitting around the table talking about politics and whatever other subject area happened to make its way onto the lips of one of us. And the eating! We would eat until it hurt. I was blessed.
But this year is different. There are only 3 of us left.
I had gone out the night before Thanksgiving and attended a Holiday Open House with a couple who I fell instantly in love with, Chase and Rachel. After mingling at their place, I then took the elevator a few floors down and had cocktails with other friends. We cheered and laughed and everyone was doing their best to be happy.
Our old apartment building was a magical bubble for me. It was a new building when we moved there in the Spring of 2014 and I instantly made friends with everyone. Since it was a new property we shared in the unfinished details of our building. The rooftop had a great view of the mountains and so it was up there that we would have our “family dinners” where everyone would join in on Sunday to chat, eat and discuss whatever we needed for the upcoming week. These people became my first support group.
They were my new family.
So, without too much sleep the night before, I wake up at 6am to start the turkey. I line up everything on the counters so it is all ready to go when we are an hour out from guests arriving. I finish this, set the table, and head back to sleep. The kids and even the dogs were quiet.
Over the years, our home has always been the place to gather. This year we invited a few friends who invited a few friends so at final count we were 20 people all together. Our home opened the doors to people who had witnessed our family story earlier in the year. Everyone was working towards filling in the missing gaps of Carl and my dad.
After resting for a few hours, I get up, shower, and get ready but still feel sick. My hips are killing me and I am struggling. As the hours approach we get the sides done and guests start to arrive. We are blessed with so many new faces all cheering us on. We sit and eat and as we raise our glasses I look across the table at my daughter and see tears in her eyes.
It will never be the same, but this is the new norm. I make an effort to chat and take a bite out of every single thing on my plate then get up and excuse myself. I go into the basement where Nathan is eating with the dogs watching the Cowboys play football. I drop down on the couch and announce that I am spent. A few moments later Adyn comes walking down and plops herself on the couch. Then one by one my friends come down to check on us. Within another few hours I don’t hear anyone.
I walk upstairs to see that my friends had cleaned up and put everything away for me. They didn’t judge me, they just supported me and the kids. The nightfall comes quickly and we all find sleep. One holiday down 2 more to go.
The holidays will never be the same again.