One by one my family members departed this earthly plane. The last to leave was Jer. That will be four years ago, in February, 2014. When I moved from San Rafael, to Santa Rosa, about 9 years ago, Jer moved back to Oregon. It was a more affordable place to live, and he just wanted it that way. We only saw each other twice after he left. He returned a year later to help celebrate my 60th birthday. I went to Oregon once to visit when he was near death from liver disease. The disease finally took him a couple of years later. There was nothing I could do to help.
That was the end of family in my world. It was not the end of making Thanksgiving dinners though. Jer had a close friend, once a girl friend, whose family had become like part of our family. For a few years after I moved to Santa Rosa they were still invited to dinner. It wasn’t the same, of course, but it was much less stressful. No one got drunk, and there were no high pitched arguments. It was sad, and a relief, at the same time. We all missed my family, and we still do.
In the past years, I have been without family members to celebrate Thanksgiving with, and I have truly dreaded this holiday. Many of them I’ve spent alone. The Thanksgiving that was most painful, and hard to recover from, was the year that mom passed away only a few days before the holiday weekend. Timing is everything, and that was really bad timing. I didn’t prepare Thanksgiving dinner that year. Jer and I went to a restaurant instead. There were but a few people there, and they served smoked turkey, which sounded appealing, but just wasn’t the same. If memory serves me, it was one of the last Thanksgivings Jer and I spent together, and what I wouldn’t give to have had many more, drunk or sober, I miss my brother.
This year I had no social plans for the holiday, other than to attend the evening service at my spiritual center. It was one way that I knew I would bump into the “thankfulness” message that I almost welcomed. It would jolt me from the apathetic feeling I have been experiencing knowing that I had yet another Thanksgiving to get through, pretty much alone.
In the past few days I had been talking to a old and dear friend, Irene, who is recovering from double knee transplants in a rehabilitation center just north of San Rafael. She mentioned that her family would be coming down to have Thanksgiving dinner with her. It was a really thoughtful gesture, and I wanted to figure out a way to join them and avoid driving on the freeway as I don’t see well in the dark. It did occur to me that Irene’s daughter and family live in Petaluma, between Santa Rosa and where Irene was being cared for. Perhaps I could drive down and meet Kim and her family and they would take me along with them to spend the evening with Irene. Kim was very gracious about my request, and also understanding about my driving concerns.
Off I went around 3:30, and was in Petaluma at the designated time. Kim had prepared most of the Thanksgiving dinner to take with us, and Irene’s daughter-in-law had prepared the rest.
About the author shari2845