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