This Thanksgiving was definitely what Thanksgiving should be all about.
Nine of my family members, including my husband and I, gathered together in my Mother's rehabilitation facility room. The center was very kind, allowing us to move a conference table into her room because plan A, to all go to the conference room together to eat fell through when Mother didn't feel up to getting out of bed and sitting up with us to eat there. The staff there helped us move chairs in that they rounded up from all over the center and we had a lovely Thanksgiving table and the food the cafeteria prepared was perfect when accompanied by some homemade desserts prepared by my sister-in-law and I.
We had turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, rolls and a dollop of cranberry sauce followed by homemade cheesecake, chocolate meringue pie and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
Mother didn't eat much but seemed to really enjoy the cheesecake, the chocolate meringue pie and the company of her children, in-laws, one of her grandsons and brothers and sisters.
I am moved to tears that my family, besides my brother and sister-in-law were willing to give up a meal in a more enticing atmosphere to gather together there. It isn't where you are, it's who you are with on Thanksgiving day that makes it special. This day was a testament to that. So, while I won't claim that there wasn't some sadness today, due to the circumstances, I think we were successful at making the best of a bad situation.
My brother said that maybe as she drifts off to sleep, in and out of sleep all day, she hears us murmuring in the background and thinks she's at home for a little while. She managed to pretend to "gobble, gobble, gobble," like a turkey once, echoing my husband's call and I got a great picture of my brother's sleeping face with her sleeping face in the background. Then, I got my nephew sleeping off a turkey coma in one of the waiting rooms with his sweatshirt wrapped around his eyes and his mouth hanging open. I've promised to post it to the internet for all the world to see, he believes me because he's a goof.
My sister-in-law and I weren't terribly disappointed that we didn't have to wash all those dishes this year and my brother and I weren't terribly disappointed that we didn't have to spend our traditional two hours sitting at the table packaging up little care packages for everyone in the family to take home.
Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday for as long as I can remember and all the reasons why were on display today. People giving of themselves to serve others. The staff and my family catering to one another and most of all, the love we all share for that little woman who has prepared more Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for all of us than we could begin to count. If people can be angels then that little lady has an awfully big pair of wings hidden somewhere in that hospital bed and there are no words to describe how much she is loved, how much we all hurt for her pain, how we'd all love to take it away. She amazes us with her sweetness, regardless of how much pain she endures that sweetness is always present, that little smile, those little twinkling eyes when she first glimpses the face of someone she loves and oh, God, how we love her.
I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving this year. It has been one our family will never forget, bittersweet, full of poignant moments that we'll always remember, the moments that make us who we are from the beginning of life and seem to carry through to the end.