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When My Mom Died, Thanksgiving Did Too

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Momlogic's Melissa: When my mother was alive Thanksgiving was, hands down, my absolute favorite holiday.

depressed woman and thanksgiving

I used to look forward to taking the train from Manhattan to Connecticut to my parents' rural home for weeks beforehand. My father would pick me up at the train and we'd chat jovially on the 45-minute ride to my waiting mom. As the car pulled up the steep driveway, my mother would come out of the house and greet me with hugs and kisses and then we would head inside to the familiar home where the air was warm and thick and permeated with the smells of a feast soon to come.

I still remember the feeling of "being home" of "being safe" of "being myself" that I had every time I saw my mother. And, although our relationship was far from perfect (I credit her with my current insanity), I loved her dearly and cherished every moment with her and my family -- especially on this day.

Thanksgiving day for our family was filled with abundance and indulgence -- or "overindulgence" as one of my sister's VERY unlucky boyfriends was stupid (and rude) enough to point out one year. For the record, my mother ripped him a new a****** and told him that if he didn't like it he could leave -- good times! There was always WAY too much food, way too much wine, and just the perfect amount of fun.

My mother battled with cancer for years, but little did I know that the last time we had Thanksgiving together was REALLY her last time. Had I known, maybe I wouldn't have drank so much wine, maybe I wouldn't have argued with her over the quality of the stuffing, and maybe I would have talked to her more. But I didn't know that then. I also didn't know that not only would that be my mother's last Turkey Day, it would be the very last time that I spent time with any of MY family on Thanksgiving.

Maybe it's the distance -- I live in Los Angeles and my father, and sister and her family all live in Connecticut. Or maybe it's the fact that, for me, Thanksgiving was my mother's holiday and without her it would just be too sad if we were all together.

These days I celebrate the holiday with my family -- my husband and son. I often invite people over, but it's not the same. There's something missing, something that I can't put my finger on, something that makes me ache inside.

I've accepted the fact that I will never get to see my mother again. I've accepted the fact that I'll never get to tell her that I love her again. And I guess I've accepted the fact that I'll never feel her arms around me again. But it wasn't until just now that I realize that I've also accepted the fact that I will never really have Thanksgiving again ... not without her.

next: Work Off That Turkey Overload!
6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anon November 26, 2008, 10:49 AM

I know how you feel. My mom died when I was a child so it was always my father and I. He died in January this year, and his birthday of course lands on Thanksgiving.

Bren November 26, 2008, 1:24 PM

My mom lost her battle with cancer on 10/14/08. I know how you feel. Thanksgiving will never be the same.

steph November 26, 2008, 4:52 PM

This made me cry my eyes out. I am so sorry for your loss. Your mom sounded like a beautiful and loving person.

chris November 26, 2008, 5:39 PM

I also know how you feel but it’s not my mother that I miss but my grandmother. We never made a huge deal out of Thanksgiving because that was the holiday that mine family would spend with the “other” family. After I move out at 18, I decided that I would spend Thanksgiving with my Grandmother each year. A couple of years later I added my husband to the mix and then later my kids but still it was always just us and my grandma. When she died a couple of years ago (we shared Thanksgiving together for 16 yrs)I just couldn’t bring myself to celebrate it at all, I didn’t even cook for the first 4 years. This is the second year that I’m doing the “whole” dinner thing with my husband and kids and I’m starting to finally feel good about giving this tradition back so my kids can have their own memeries of it.

Nicole November 26, 2008, 8:04 PM

Your not alone…. I lost my Mom who was my Best Friend to cancer 18 years ago this Thanksgiving. They say it gets easiler over time. They lied. It doesn’t. My Mom was 48 yrs old when she died. I can still feel the same emotion I did when she left me. I’m an only child and I never knew my biological father. When I lost my Mom I lost my world. It was years before I could even mention this Holiday and see a turkey. Everyday I keep her memory alive by thinking of her and you can do the same. It will never replace your mother but be Thankful that you at least have siblings and your Father.

Leah November 20, 2010, 5:16 PM

I am crying as I type,you see my mom died 18 years ago, the actual aniversary of her death was Nov. 18, 1992. She was only 48 she had cancer of the esphogas. We buried her the day before Thanksgiving. This year I turned 40 and I feel more lost then ever. Why? I think about her alot and I have a wonderful family. I [reach alot as i was not the perfect child,myself. I just wish I had my mom she died eay to young and I am feeling lonely, the kind of lonely only a mom knows how to make feel better.

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