While we did not know it at the time that would be the last time Cody and Carter would ever see their Grandpa. It would be the last time Husband would ever see his father-in-law, the man he called on the phone over eleven years ago and in a whisper so I would not hear, formally asked for my hand in marriage.
It would be the last time I would ever see my dad outside of a hospital or full care facility. Two short weeks after we ate that Thanksgiving meal together, the Alzheimer’s shifted and took a hold of him a bit more tightly, causing him to lash out. There were police, paramedics, frantic late night phone calls, and just plain awfulness the likes of which I will not write about. He died in February.
My mom has offered to host Thanksgiving at her place again. We will sit around the same dining room table we did last year but in different places. My father-in law is in town visiting from Arizona, not because of Thanksgiving but because today is his 80th birthday. We told him we were willing to travel to him but he asked if instead he could come up to our house and spend some time with us. We feel honored and are glad he is here. But his visit is bringing up some unexpected emotions for me and a sense of damp sadness for what is lost.
Thanksgiving 2012 and I am unsettled.
I am having a hard time working through this grief I carry. I have been fighting back tears for several days. I am having to bite my tongue so that I don’t irrationally ask my father-in-law to stop playing with the boys. My internal self is screaming at him to stop, to say that it is unfair that my own dad did not get the chance to play monster-robot with the boys, making them run, screaming in false terror until, tripping over their own feet, they fall to the ground and roll around laughing and shrieking with delight. Of course he should play with them. Of course they should love him and have these great moments with him. And of course I am glad they are all getting to share these wonderful moments together. It is just that I can not shake the thought that my dad would have made one great monster-robot. And that he was not given that chance.
I may be unsettled and I may be crying inside but I am also thankful for so very many things in my life. I hope you too can find a great number of things to be thankful for this year even if it has been not been all you were hoping for. Even if you have pain or loss or sadness. Embrace the time you have. Be truly thankful for all that is around you. Make the moments count because it is those precious moments, the good and the bad, that make life what it is.
May you all have a happy Thanksgiving.