Happy Day after Thanksgiving to all of you!
Yesterday marked the first big holiday that we celebrated without my Dad. I am forever grateful to my husband’s family as my parents-in-law whom I dearly love, hosted my Mom, my sister and her family and of course, our family to their home last night. It was the best way to transition to the beginning of life after Dad’s death. With 16 people at the table, 7 active children ranging from ages 6 -14 (and only one girl in the group!) and 9 adults, we had a full house!
Ever protective of my Mom who had second thoughts about attending yesterday’s festivities because she didn’t want to be a burden nor did she want to feel like a 3rd wheel, I watched as our families enveloped her in holiday spirit, giving her the opportunity to know how much she is loved and appreciated. At one point, someone pointed out a cardinal in the yard, bright red against the still green grass. Many of us clambered to the window to look for its mate as they are always in pairs. But my sister and I knew where his mate was…she was seated right next to me on the chair, a few tears quietly escaping her while the others looked outside. My sister has always loved cardinals and my Mom knew the significance of the mate-less cardinal who showed up brightly outside the window of the house yesterday. Dad was there in spirit.
As the day wore on, I watched as she got involved in the washing of dishes with all of the girls, drying platters and laughing at our antics and off-pitch singing. I smiled such gratefulness as I saw the door of mourning open for a bit, allowing for the laughter of life in her to emerge. There were times during the night where Mom got weepy, especially when we said the blessing before the meal and my father-in-law reverently spoke making sure to say a prayer for my Dad. But I also saw how protective our family as a whole was of her as each took time to talk with her, reminisce with her and to make her feel at home.
Truthfully I am crying now in gratefulness as I know how blessed I am…I reminded my Mom albeit a bit sternly the day before Thanksgiving when she was wavering on whether to come or stay home alone ~ life is for the living…You are here! Daddy is not, but if you should decide to stay home alone, you would be robbing our family of your presence as well. My children and I wouldn’t be able to include you in our Thanksgiving memories. You would be denying the opportunity to be an amazing role model to the family as you showed strength and love in being present during this holiday of Thanksgiving. Being a part of the day means that you can honor Dad, but also be humanly strong as you embody the title of my blog ~ The Presents of Presence!
As you already know, she took the (ahem) bait and came! I knew she would…there’s an inner strength to Mom that shines through, just like the laughter that we heard last night. I pray her love of life (and us) will continue to help her find her way in this next stage of life. I know how difficult it can be to mourn a loss in your life. Although I’m currently mourning the loss of my Dad, I’ve mourned the loss of my health when I got breast cancer 10 years ago and lost my breasts to the disease. Now I know it’s not the same, but they are losses, permanent changes in your life that you don’t see coming, but they come all the same. They change you in ways you can’t even begin to fathom and sometimes, speaking for myself, they change you for the better.
There are Presents to being Present in your life!!
You only have to look to find them…and enjoy them!
The Presents of Presence…xoxo