Saturday, November 20, 2010
Thanksgiving already? How did it sneak up on us? Actually it didn't; it came with a bang. The day after jack o'lanterns and witches vanished from the shelves, Santas and Christmas ornaments appeared. Within a few days the malls were decorated and Christmas carols were playing. Too early for me, when our Houston thermometers were still pushing ninety. One of these years they'll probably start Christmas on July 5.
By the time the holidays arrive, we're innured to them. Or we're depressed from all the messages that say, "Be joyful! Celebrate!"
Being joyful and celebratory is tough in the widowsphere. The holidays don't feel right any more, with your spouse missing. No one to gripe to about the high prices and crowded stores, no one to share a glassw of egg nog with in front of the fire. Even with people around, we feel alone.
It's normal to feel sorry for ourselves in the midst of other people's merriment. I'm pretty sure it's okay to cry and to have a long (one-sided) conversation with our absent spouses. But we might also want to add a thank-you for all the good times we had together and a promise not to ever forget them.
Since Ralph died, I've spent my Thanksgiving Days with my daughter-in-law's warm and welcoming family. It's not the same. The turkey isn't a Ralph-cooked one and his jalapeno dressing is missing. But I do have fun, and this year my granddaughter's birthday, the 26th, is the next day so we'll be celebrating that, too. I wish her Popo could see how she's grown; she's a feisty 12-year-old, still as chatty as ever, who makes videos with her American Girl dolls and has 1000 subscribers on YouTube (Eat your heart out, Nana.) She's made the leap to middle school. No boyfriends yet, although she confesses she's been asked. Ralph would be proud of her. She was the last person he asked to see before he died, and his doctor made special arrangements so he could leave the transplant floor and say goodbye to her.
This year I'm thankful for my family and friends, for the work that still fulfills me (How can anything be more satisfying than teaching a child to talk?), for my two cuddly cats, for learning new things, and for making it through to another Thanksgiving.
And to all my friends in cyberspace, may you stay upbeat during the holidays and think of the good things in your lives.
With love and thanks, Thelma Z