Thanksgiving Without Mom

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This year, I stayed put for Thanksgiving, and for the first time, my family came to me. I thought, perhaps selfishly, I don’t know, that the first Thanksgiving after my mom’s death would be easier for everyone if we did it a little differently.

I hadn’t been home for Thanksgiving since 2011. In 2012, I moved to Indiana and the drive/trip just seemed like a lot when I’d be home the next month for Christmas. In 2012, I spent Thanksgiving with my BFF Ashley in Nashville, and in 2013, 2014, and 2015, I hosted a Friendsgiving at my place.

This year, dad, brother, and sister packed up the car and drove to me. I had loose plans for a good time…show them around town (this was their first visit since moving me in 2012!), go to the movies, eat food, and perhaps go on a hike. We did all of it:

I drove them around campus (it was cold and rainy so a walk was not desirable) and we made a trip to the Barnes and Noble, so we could purchase books that none of us really needed.

We saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (I highly recommend it– I enjoyed it, even if I want BOOKS and not movies of these new stories). Sister even liked it more than Harry Potter (we may have scarred her by taking her to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets when she was a wee lass of six– That basilisk was a little scary)!

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I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, successfully, I might add. The only thing I didn’t do was peel and chop the potatoes, thanks to Brother and Sister respectively. We watched Christmas movies after dinner and had a good day.

Friday, we went for a hike in a local nature preserve. It was quiet and empty and it was nice to get out of town and do some woods-walking.

It was a good visit. There was no fighting or squabbling (though, I think I offended my brother when I told him to stop making Macaulay Culkin crack jokes whilst watching Home Alone). The only misbehavior was from my cat who was decidedly rude to my family while they were here (see Sister’s snapchat below).

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My family left on Saturday. I had been worried about them leaving and me taking it not so well, but I was surprisingly fine. Tired, but fine. It didn’t really hit me until Sunday that this Thanksgiving was  different, and even then, the level of that difference hasn’t registered. Grief is a funny thing, it can hide and not show its face when you expect it to do so. I had cooked and served Thanksgiving in my house before, but this time it was for my family. And the only reason that was the case, is because Mom is gone. The finality of the gone-ness still hasn’t sunk in; I was expecting Thanksgiving to put the goneness into focus, but it didn’t really, not in the way I was expecting.

Whatever the state of my grief-emotions, the first major holiday (excepting my birthday, my dad’s birthday, and my sister’s birthday, all of which occurred right after her death) without Mom has been celebrated. And, I miss her.

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2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Without Mom”

  1. Oh, Sweet Charlotte, how my heart breaks for you and the rest of your family. I am thankful that you know how to put your thoughts and feelings in to words. It’s good to do so. Missing your mom will be something that will never go away. It will just get a little more familiar and you will find more reasons to smile as you think of her as time goes on. She would be so proud of your efforts this holiday; I know that for sure! You remind me so much of her. She would want to thank you for taking such good care of your dad and Elizabeth and Joe. So let me do that for her! Thank you, thank you! And, you’re right…..grief is a funny thing. Not always there when you expect it and yet out of nowhere a moment when it hits so hard. Please remember that the grieving part is so needed and you don’t want to avoid it. Don’t be hard on yourself when all of a sudden you fall back to where you thought you had made it through. It’s the way it works. Your mom was one of my favorite cousins for many reasons and it looks like those reasons will live on in you! Stay strong, Charlotte, you can get through this one small step at a time. Special prayers coming your way every day. Love, Linda

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    1. Thank you, Linda. It’s definitely comforting knowing that there are a lot of family and friends out there with their support. I’m definitely not avoiding grieving; I’ve been in grief counseling and my counselor says I’m doing all of the right things. It’s just so different than the grief I’ve dealt with before, which makes sense since I only have one mom…and what a good momma she was. Writing is the way I process most anything, so this seemed the most natural outlet.

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