For the last 11 years Thanksgiving has been a really rough holiday for me. It used to be just a holiday... a day to avoid the turkey and whine that there weren't more veggies on the table. But 11 years ago at this time we lost my mother to cancer. 13 days from diagnosis to death. That was all we got. At the time, my father was battling Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma that had only been found a month before. So yeah, not such a good time.
10 years ago my father was just ending his radiation treatments. I was on a path of self destruction and medicating myself beyond measure. None of these 'medications' were exactly legal.
9 years ago my father and I began our annual trips to California for Thanksgiving to my brother's house. This would continue for years. It was easier to leave home during that time. Easier to not be in her house and count the years back. To think about exactly what happened on what day. To gauge my memory of her by the standard of how long she had been gone.
4 years ago I think I stopped paying attention to the days. I had begun dating Spouse (who knew and loved my mother) and had finally found peace in what had happened. Acceptance that what I had left of a holiday had to be more then memorializing those 2 weeks in my head every year.
1 year ago I was finishing my last treatment before the holiday. I was going to VT to BFs, both of our traditions broken that year- we decided to be together.
It is the week of Thanksgiving and I am so grateful that from this point forward, this time of year is no longer a battle between what was and what is. I am not consumed by grief or anger. I don't mourn it. I don't turn from it.
Because one year from now I will be preparing for my baby's first birthday.
A day that as I sit in the here and now preparing for- will most certainly occur before December 3rd.
The day that I lost my mother.