As some of you have probably noticed, I have been laying low for the last month or so. After Halloween, for most people, it's a time to start preparing for the Holidays. Used to be for ME too. In fact, I was preparing for the Holidays in September.
I don't look at the holidays the way I used to. I told Donny yesterday when we were walking...just a few short years ago, by Thanksgiving, I had already made my lists for the holidays - the LONG list of who I needed to buy gifts for, cookies I would bake, who would be coming over for the holidays, and how much $$ would come out of each pay to pay for all of it!
Now, there is no list...nothing on my calendar (there ARE dates on the calendar, but things that I can't do...)
Something about the change in the weather, the fact that Melissa LOVED this time of year, and the fact that she went into the hospital the Monday before Thanksgiving. It was the beginning of the end.
I try not to think about it too much, but your senses take over - things I see, hear, smell...ALL bring back vivid memories of our last holidays with Melissa. You would THINK that after three years things would get easier. But it doesn't. We went out with some good friends from our Compassionate Friends group the other night, and we all agreed. You don't miss them LESS as each day passes. You miss them MORE.
Today is Thanksgiving. Our routine for Thanksgiving always began on Thanksgiving "eve"... I had the day off and would bake 4 pies - 2 lemon, 2 pecan before Melissa and John would come up drop their things off and head out to Harrigans to meet Nick and other friends of Melissa & Nick's who were in town for the holiday. I would lay awake worrying until they got home, which would be after Harrigan's closed, so I didn't get much sleep. Then up early to put the turkey in the oven and start preparing for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was hectic, chaotic sometimes...but I had my family home and we laughed (and argued of course)and I loved every minute of it.
Now, I guess you could call it "peaceful". Not so sure I like "peaceful".
We got up, I went to get coffee for me & Donny, and read the paper. No laughter.
No aroma of turkey filling the house. Pretty quiet. TOO quiet.
We couldn't decide if we were going out to eat, or if we should have something here - ultimately decided to stay home and buy a dinner from a restaurant because otherwise my sister would be home alone and our good friend Mary would be home alone.
So they are coming over, Nick & Max are coming over (Mere is going to her mom's family in Cincy with Drew).
Sometimes I wonder WHAT I have to be thankful for. I don't have my daughter, I miss her EVERY single day, and it consumes me. But when I woke up this morning, my first thought AFTER thinking of her, was "I am so thankful that there are restaurants open on Thanksgiving for people like us...who don't have the energy or desire to prepare a feast"....then I thought of a lot of other things I am thankful for -
Donny. He is here for me every day and of course truly understands because he misses her as much as I do. We need each other. I am thankful for that.
Nick. Ever hear the saying "A son is a son til he takes a wife. A daughter's a daughter all of her life"? I am blessed that is NOT Nick. He is here for me and understanding whenever I need him...
Mere. I couldn't ask for a better daughter in law. I would have picked her for Nick if HE hadn't picked her!
Drew. He is so smart and I love his hugs and kisses and I love when he says "Pamma, Pamma, Pamma..." until I look at him.
Max. He makes me smile. He makes me laugh. He hugs your legs at random times - and is getting cuddlier and cuddlier (especially when DREW is stting on my lap!)
My sister Sue. She is more than making up for the times I listened to her. Her life isn't so great, but she is always there to listen when I need her.
Angie. Melissa's best friend from high school, who calls just to check in if she hasn't heard from me in awhile...she knows. And she listens, and she tells more stories about Melissa than anyone else, and I love her for that. And the fact that she's a lot like Melissa too.
Friends. I am thankful for old friends who continue to call and invite me to do things, even though I continue to decline. I am thankful for NEW friends, who are where WE are and who we can talk with about OUR kids, all the time if we want. And cry together too. And reminisce. As much as we want too. This may sound strange, but there we have WAY too many friends who are where we are. And new friends at work who come in and visit me because I NEVER leave my room. (Wish they could have known the SOCIAL Pam. She was kind of fun.)
Fort's Friends. I LOVE running into Melissa's friends. Hearing MORE stories about her. Hearing NEW stories about her. Just talking about her. I am thankful for her Rugby friends who continue her legacy with the Fundraiser every October. They make me laugh and they REMIND me of her. We love you guys.
Family. Who understand that I am not the same person, and I might not be able to attend a family function but love me anyway.
I am thankful for two of my best friends Jackie and Ruth, who both passed away in 2011. Their families are celebrating (?) their first holidays without them. My heart aches for them - I hope that their memories will get them through the next few weeks...
And of course, I am SO thankful that I had the MOST BEAUTIFUL, SMART, LOVING, CARING, FUNNY daughter that ever lived. I have only precious memories that will have to carry me through the rest of my life, until I see her again.
On this Thanksgiving, be thankful if you are celebrating with ALL of your loved ones. Have fun, LAUGH, and take lots of pictures. And enjoy the day.
(And, just a note, although this may have been a little depressing for some of you, I hope to have a more cheerful post this week. Melissa's best friend from OU, Stacy, is coming to visit with Mia Marie (Melissa's namesake!)so I'll be taking LOTS of pictures.)