Posted Thanksgiving Day, Nov 27, 2009 ~ (Seven months into widowhood)
Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate with family and friends, and a day to remember all we have to be thankful about. I didn’t anticipate that Thanksgiving Day would be difficult for me, since most of our married life, Buck would travel to W.V. for three weeks each November to go deer and wild turkey hunting and to spend time with his Mom and siblings. Once again, I was wrong, I didn’t see it coming.
A few weeks ago, my sister, Colleen, invited me to join her and my brother-in-law at their home for Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom and Dad would also be there if they felt up to it. I accepted their invitation and said I would bake a pumpkin pie to add to the feast I knew they would prepare.
Last weekend, I decided it would be nice to go to York Hospital to visit whoever was working in the Open Heart ICU on Thanksgiving Day. I just wanted to say hello and to thank them once again for all they did for us, and for all they do for their patients in general. But by Tuesday, I had changed my mind and decided that wasn’t in their best interest or mine, as I've had a cold for two weeks and I was feeling very vulnerable emotionally as Thanksgiving approached. On Tuesday, I decided that what I really wanted and needed was to be home, to enjoy the comfort and solitude that only my home could provide.
So my Thanksgiving Day was a pajama day and I slept till 10 AM. Once awake, I read my Bible, my devotionals and spent the one on one time I needed with the Lord. Nothing else provides the restoration that I require to keep me moving forward, however slowly that might be. First gear is always preferable to standing still. I also wrote in my daily journal. That helps me remember what I’ve been doing with my life, otherwise I would have no recollection. Sad but true… my short-term memory is pretty much non-existent. If I don’t write it down, it’s gone forever!
Hunger pangs finally motivated me to get out of bed at 3 PM. I could count on two hands, the few times I have prepared a complete meal for myself this year. But today would be one of those days. I knew my Mom would ask me what was I going to eat, when she found out I wouldn’t be joining my family for Thanksgiving dinner (once a mother, always a mother). I had my menu ready when the question cam. I was even able to say that I had a small pan of cornbread baking in the oven in Buck’s honor, as it was one of his very favorite foods. I think it helped my Mom to know that her “baby girl” would at least be eating well, although she really didn’t like the thought that I would be eating alone. Thankfully, everyone understood, no feelings were hurt, and I got what I really needed…Solitude!
About a month ago, I had an idea: a visual reminder that I am never alone and that the Lord is always here with me. I set out a place setting of my pretty heirloom china at the head of my dining room table. Tonight, the Lord and I had a candlelight dinner to commemorate my first Thanksgiving without my sweetheart. Buck would tolerate candlelight dinners on occasion, just to make me happy, or if he had prepared a romantic dinner for me as he did on several wedding anniversaries. But for the most part, he preferred to see what he was eating! I asked my Guest to bless the meal I had prepared and I reminded Him of all the many blessings I am thankful for. I told Him I still don’t understand, but I trust Him with my future and I know it will be good. I cried. I ate my pork chop, acorn squash, fresh steamed broccoli and my chocolate pudding and felt satisfied that I had prepared a healthy, though not traditional holiday meal for myself.
After dinner, I called York Hospital’s OHICU to see who was working tonight and was surprised to find that only two nurses were on duty, as there were only two patients in the unit to care for. I got to speak to Theresa and Renee. It was so wonderful to reconnect with them both.
As this Thanksgiving Day comes to a close, I feel rested, peaceful and thankful! Thankful that another “first” is behind me and my heart is full of thanksgiving for the innumerable blessings that I enjoy each day. I count all of you among those wonderful gifts given to me this year. Thank you for caring and for your continued love and support. I hope your Thanksgiving Day was happy and memorable.