Tag Archives: family

The first Thanksgiving without Dad

It has been a strange, bittersweet Thanksgiving holiday for me. I am spending the week with Mom, but now she’s having some troubling health symptoms that we need to go have checked out tomorrow. So she can’t even enjoy any food today, not that we were going to do a traditional feast.

We decided to skip the turkey and fixings, but the memories of past holiday meals linger. We never had the big family gatherings that many other people enjoy. It was just the three of us, so I think we miss his presence even more because it’s such a huge hole in our little family.

By far, Dad’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. He loved all of the traditional dishes served on that day, but I think the turkey was his favorite. He would always ask for seconds on that day! I wish Dad could have enjoyed a real turkey one year, as we always bought those little “turkey roasts in a box” since it was just the three of us.

He wasn’t that big on desserts, which left more pumpkin pie for me, which I was just fine with. 🙂

Holidays and illness unfortunately do mix sometimes. It’s just one of those unavoidable facts of life. Thankfully, I’m not that sentimental about holidays, but I can’t help but think about how it’s been one year now that my life has revolved around illness and loss. These life-altering experiences make you reassess your priorities and what is truly meaningful. It also makes me wonder when I see all of the Facebook posts where people so casually give thanks to family and friends. I’m not saying people are not sincere, but it’s so easy to take all of those special people in your life for granted. I’ve certainly been guilty of it. This past year has taught me a difficult, but important lesson.

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Sunday phone calls

Back when my life was relatively normal (which seems like a dream but which I obviously took for granted) I would call my parents once a week, on Sunday afternoon. We live thousands of miles apart (me in Georgia, my parents in New Mexico) so in-person visits were rare. But I would faithfully call each Sunday, even though I dreaded the intrusion on my personal time. I worked hard, and treasured my weekend time.

Most of these conversations were all Mom. She was the one with the need to talk, and tell me every minute detail of the week. She was lonely, and needed someone to talk to. Dad was more like me, generally reserved unless he really hit it off with someone.

I remember there were times when Dad was sinking into dementia and Mom would put Dad on the phone. Frankly, I dreaded these talks with Dad. It was clear he was losing his mind from the way he would instantly forget what he was talking about to the random questions he would sometimes ask. The conversations worried me and made me feel guilty for not being there to help out Mom.

This summer to now, Sundays have been very strange. I’ve either been visiting Mom in the hospital or nursing home, or taking care of her at home. I almost miss those Sunday phone conversations that I used to dread.

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