Thanksgiving Gratitudes

They tell me it’s Thanksgiving.  Well — almost.

They had to tell me because there are no falling leavings, no cooling of the air with threats of rain or snow on the horizon. There are no homes with fireplaces sending luscious scents of burning wood into the open air.

There were no markers that the seasons had changed and the opening salvo of the holidays were upon us.

As I sit in a local coffee shop, no decorations for Thanksgiving or Christmas for that matter, are on display.

English: Turkey (bird)

English: Turkey (bird) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am perplexed and not sure if I like the anonymity of the season or long for the days where Thanksgiving and Christmas are rammed down your throat with every step from October 31 to Jan 3.

Part of me misses my childhood where the holidays brought friends and family from all corners of the planet to celebrate the time of year and each other. It felt and smelled like home.

As I grew up and moved on, I tried to replicate those occasions as closely as I could like my mother did. I liked the smell, the camaraderie, the seasonal changes.

In the last few years, ten to be exact, I started to dread the holidays. It felt like more of a chore than a party. I was distant with my family and closest friends; due to circumstances beyond my control (and frankly some that were in my control), I fell silent. Partly, so I didn’t think of all that had been and partly because it was an easier way to weather the stormy seas I was in.

Now as I stand on the other side of the rough water, I find it is still choppy, but not threatening. I brace for the impact of Thanksgiving quickly drowned out by the worse holiday — Christmas.

I have moved on in my life, but not sure how to reclaim all that I let slip away. How does one reach back without appearing needy or mean? How does one move forward into the past?

It’s funny. I have moved into a place where I hear people talk about thanksgiving, but I don’t feel the warmth and love that used to be in the holiday. Like people are just going through the motions  — or maybe it’s just me.

I am lucky enough to have found other foreigners in my current land to spend Bird day with. I am looking forward to not working, but playing and spending time with good people and new friends.

I am grateful for my life and the direction I am heading in.

I hope this year brings back some of the old time feelings of past holidays of warmth, laughter, and good cheer.

May you have an awesome and happy thanksgiving surrounded by those you love.

Death’s Anniversary

Time is a funny thing. Everything seems so far away then suddenly you are looking back wondering where it all went in a blink.

This time last year I was on the phone hearing words I did not expect from a doctor I did not know.

I sat on the floor wondering if I was dreaming.The roar in my ears, the trembling of my hands and the calm words of a friend as I sat there made it all the more real.

My father, the last of my parents, had passed away.

I. Was. An. Orphan.

What did I do now? That part was immediately simple. With a friend by my side and the man made laws and social norms in place, I went through the motions of doing what had to be done.

View the body: Check.

Talk to the doctor about the cause and next steps: Check.

Pack up the belongings: Check.

Call someone to retrieve the body: Check.

Notify friends and family: Check.

Pick out cremation plan: Check.

Complete death certificate: Check.

Silence.

After all the noise and commotion there is resounding silence. There is no getting around this part. It is by far, the most difficult thing to handle and yet something everyone must deal with.

The second thoughts, the what ifs, the guilt. And through it all, nothing changes, nothing could. In my un-unique state of losing someone close to me, I was also freed. Freed of my obligations, free to do what I wanted with no pressure to live up to something or someone. It was as liberating as it was terrifying.

Slowly plans were created from the ashes and goals set to scatter my father’s remains. He left no instructions other than “Don’t put me in the damn ground for the worms to eat”.

As I moved around to leave him to roam the places he loved most (by my memory anyway), I indirectly started laying the foundation for me to move on. The moving around both hurt and helped me move on. Mixed feelings — often at time without warning — would overwhelm me. It delayed my grief because I was focused on what to do next.

In the end, visiting places my father loved the most, brought me closer to him. It brought me a sense of peace and closure that I would have missed had I chosen any other route.

It’s been one year ago today — where did the time go?

Rest in Peace Dad. You are loved and missed.

Love,

Your Daughter