Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Memories

Im not sure how Im feeling today. A mixture of appreciation for everything our lives are blessed with, big and small. Our home, our jobs, my kids, my husband, crazy pets, the food we eat, our health....but Im also struck with emptiness and sadness for facing our first Thanksgiving without my Dad. AND....I'm struck with the normal super lovey feelings I have every turkey day because my Hannah was born on this day!!! (the 28th) Today marks 14 years of Turkey Days with my Baby Hannah!!! I always think of Thanksgiving as Hannah's "real" birthday....

Every Thanksgiving I'm thrown back to memories of when my Hannah was born. Hannah was born 3 weeks early. She was a tiny 5lbs 15oz, she was perfect. Everywhere we went people commented on how b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l she was. -Sigh- I remember staring at her for hours like every new Mom does. Sometimes when I look at Hannah I go back to those days of pure bliss. Nearing 14 (on Sunday!) I HAVE TO remember the blissful days or I'll never make it through the teen years!! This girl drives me CRAZY!!!

Last Thanksgiving we didn't know it would be the last we had with my Dad. Today my heart is sad and empty, especially being that EVERYTHING we did for Thanksgiving was centered around my Dad. He was the king of the castle. The one we always wanted to please the most, because he owned our hearts and worked SO hard his whole life to provide for his family. Then Diabetes took away everything he ever was. Diabetes stole his health and well being, his active lifestyle. What it never took was his great-big-heart and love for his family. Today I miss his smile. I miss his meanie sense of humor. I miss his love of my deviled eggs and Thanksgiving dinner. I miss the strength he gave me every day, because he understood our lives with Diabetes. He despised the disease. He hurt from the disease, yet he encouraged me everyday.

On holidays like today we always wanted to accommodate my Dad FIRST, especially because getting out of the house on Dialysis was so hard for him. (Holidays were always at our house) Dad never felt well. He was never able to stay too long. We all made his favorite foods according to the "kidney" diet. We set aside a place in our home he could go for some quiet time and rest. A place he could do his Dialysis exchange that was sterile. Last year Thanksgiving was held at my Mother in Laws house....

Dad never liked Holidays anywhere but my house. He wasnt comfortable away from home, but he came anyway, no matter how torn up he was feeling. Last Thanksgiving Dad wobbled around with a cane because his Charcots Foot. Dad liked to tease Maddison with his new cane, poking her and acting like a "grumpy old man." Yet somehow, last year was different than all the Thanksgiving past.

Last Thanksgiving my Dad SHINED. He SMILED almost constantly. HE JOKED AND LAUGHED ALOT!! He lit up the room, and everyone commented on how good he was feeling for once. He felt REALLY good. Almost healthy! You could see it, even see in his eyes. I remember thinking maybe Dads health was improving. He hadn't had a Peritoneal infection all year. He was more active, doing small things around the house. His entire attitude had changed. He was a changing man at heart, in so many ways.

Today I will remember my Dad last year. I will remember his smile. I will remember that he enjoyed his last Thanksgiving in awesome spirits, surrounded with family and friends. AND, he actually enjoyed the family chaos!! He stayed a long time. He talked to everyone. He even went out of his way to make it a good day! Sometimes I wonder if he knew it would be his last Thanksgiving. When I think back to how different Dad was last Thanksgiving (even in personality) I feel like he knew he needed to cherish the day. Cherish, he did. My heart will always remember Thanksgiving 2009. The day my Dad SHINED.

I could go on all day...especially since my throat has a frog in it and I want to pour out my heart! Lets just say CHERISH your family today, even your CRAZY Aunt Bessie!!

Happy Thanksgiving all! Im eternally thankful for all my D mommas!! Today I'm incredibly thankful for the DOC! ((HUGS)) to all!!


Unknown said...

This was beautiful, Kelly.

I'm so happy you have the wonderful memories of your father's smile to carry you through today and the Thanksgivings that wait ahead.

Much love and many blessings, my friend.

Lora said...

It is wonderful that you are able to cherish such wonderful memories.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Pam said...

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and find peace on this day. Happy birthday Hannah!

Unknown said...

Love you Kelly and I really appreciated this post about your you know my father died 4 years ago around Thanksgiving.

I like that he "knew" to cherish his last Thanksgiving. I think it is wonderful that he would go to your home for the holidays. Was he on Peritoneal Dialysis? My dad was...when he came to visit we had a special place for him dad died from complications from type 2 diabetes at 62.

Thanks for sharing about your dad. I understand how it can be a bittersweet time...the memories...the first holidays without your dad.