In our family Thanksgiving weekend marks a few special occasions that we always remember. Twenty-five years ago Paul was baptised on Thanksgiving weekend, during the Sunday liturgy. Two years ago Paul and Christiana were married Thanksgiving weekend, on the Saturday. Both those events were occasions of great joy. Now it also marks a few sad occasions. Thanksgiving weekend two years ago was also the last time the kids and I saw my brother Ron. Last Thanksgiving, during Sunday dinner, with Marc’s family gathered around the table, was when we discovered the lump in Bernadette’s abdomen. Three Thanksgiving celebrations marked by four completely different events and their memories bringing with them totally different emotions. I think the challenge will be to see the significance that all the events happened on Thanksgiving and to eventually come to be thankful for them all because there is no such thing as a coincidence with God.
And so it begins – our walk down memory lane filled with thoughts or comments that start with ‘this time last year . . .’ as we mentally relive the nightmare of Bernadette’s illness and passing. It’s amazing how a year passes just as fast whether it is a good year or a difficult year.
I read somewhere a few months ago that the anticipation of an anniversary or a special holiday can be more difficult than the event itself. With eight months of such experiences under my belt, I’m beginning to believe it. Wednesday through Saturday was filled with 100ft waves, some days one after another after another after another that culminated in a class 5 hurricane Saturday night. But then with the dawn came the calm.
Sunday morning we headed to Mass and then in the afternoon prepared for our Thanksgiving dinner. Paul, Christina, and Ruth joined us and Christina brought the best pumpkin pie ever! Shane, Melissa, Nathaniel, and Jacob also joined us and Melissa brought the yummiest veggie dish that use to be one of Aunt Margaret’s standards with her turkey dinners. With the help of both families we were well diverted from focusing on the fact that Bernadette was missing or that it was the anniversary of when our nightmare began. I’m sorry to say it, but having Johanna at work kind of helped too, in the sense that the whole family was not all together anyways.
Still there were a few moments throughout the day that were painful but not overwhelming. I suspect those moments will always be with us now. I think maybe the lesson to learn from yesterday is to not be afraid of those painful moments during special occasions and to surround ourselves with loved ones who will remind us that we’re not alone.
In a way, it’s like the invisible glass walls that contained our little family unit have been shattered and God is inviting us to step out and fully embrace our bigger family, His family, and in doing so we will once again experience joy – a new fuller joy. And dare I suggest, it is a shadow of the joy that Bernadette has been experiencing for the last eight months.
Your posts fill my heart with love….blessings to you and yours always…xoxox