Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories

Well, we made it again, another year through Thanksgiving. On some of the online political groups I a part of, there has been much discussion about NOT celebrating Thanksgiving for one reason or another. One reason is because it has become a somewhat secular holiday. Another reason is because people think it is terrible to feast on meat or to participate in the overeating that comes with the day. Still other people feel guilty to indulge in so much when there are others who have so little.

I guess people can see what they want in any event or holiday. We each take away from our participation or lack of participation different things, depending on where we are coming from emotionally, mentally and physically.

My family has continued our tradition of cooking the turkey and stuffing ourselves with all the good foods we don't eat at any other time of the year. This year my daughters, Jaime and Dani, along with Aiden, joined Maxx and I as we journeyed to the home of Maxx's parents where we were joined by his brother and wife and their two children. It was a house full of people, to say the least. They are religious people, but they do not force it upon others and they are considerate of me and the feelings of my daughters and Maxx on this day, in particular. I deeply appreciated the moment they took to remember my son and to add that they knew it was a difficult day for us.

We made it through the day and I actually did pretty good until after the late feast, at which time I took the time out to step outside, smoke a cigarette by myself in the cold night air and remember the one who wasn't there with us anymore, my son, Jeremy. It was 26 years ago on Thanksgiving night, after all of the Thanksgiving feast had been finished, that my water broke and I went into active labor with my son. Eight hours later, in the early morning hours on the day after Thanksgiving, my beautiful son was born.

It doesn't matter what day of the month Jeremy's birthday falls on. For me, it is Thanksgiving and the day after that will be forever impressed on my memory.

Jeremy's last Thanksgiving home was also his 22nd birthday. He had planned to feast with his father, who had come down to see him off as Jeremy had to report for active duty in the Army the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Maxx and I had not planned any great Thanksgiving feast that year as I had to work and our daughters were both living in other cities. But Jeremy called and wanted to come to our house and stay after an argument with his father. Later that day, our Thanksgiving feast and Jeremy's birthday dinner consisted of spam and taters with gravy. Jeremy ate the dinner with us, however wary he might have been. He did not complain or make any faces or smart remarks. He just seemed to be happy to be with us.

We did not know, we could not have known, that it was his last Thanksgiving and birthday with us.

Two days later Maxx and I drove Jeremy to report for active duty in the Army Reserves, where he would receive training for the next two months before his unit left to go to Iraq.

Now Thanksgiving has a different meaning and importance for me. I will not feel guilty for participating in the feast nor for feeling grateful for those people in my life and things that I treasure so very dearly.

I have been homeless -- therefore I am grateful to have a home to live in.

I have been jobless -- I am grateful for the job I have.

I have spent many holidays without friend or family other than my kids -- I am grateful for the family that I am a part of and that they still put up with me!

I am very grateful to the Gods or whatever it is that is Divine that has seen fit to bless my life with two wonderful daughters and a stepdaughter. I am grateful to be blessed with three beautiful grandchildren and an incredibly patient son-in-law. I am blessed and thankful for a family of in-laws who are patient and kind even though I'm not sure they understand me. My in-laws are accepting of my crazy daughters and that means a great deal to me.

I am grateful from the depths of my heart for my delightful, kind, loving and amazing husband, Maxx, who still makes me laugh.

Yes, I mourn the one who isn't here among us anymore, I still miss him with all of my heart. I will miss him every single day of my life as long as I live. I am grateful to have been blessed to be Jeremy's mother. Thanksgiving Day, more than any other, symbolizes to me what was and what is the reality in my life.

In peace,

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