Tuesday, November 30, 2010

bracing for goodbye

Thanksgiving meant a little more to me this year than usual.  I've always been a big fan.  It's my favorite holiday by far, but as we climbed in the car and headed to Grandma's house I felt a wave of sadness wash over me.  She's 95.  A very independent spry 95, but still.  They found a spot on her lung recently and I just have this feeling it's our last Thanksgiving with her.

Honey putting on his game face.  Family gatherings stress him out for some reason.


This is the house my Grandma has lived in for the past 60+ years.  It's this place that I've had every single holiday meal...made all those special memories with cousins and aunts and uncles.

My dad is one of eight kids.  He's the oldest son.  So we have a really BIG family.  We all try to cram into the little rooms and huddle around listening to windy stories about days gone by.

He always leads us in a word of prayer before our meal.  His words carefully spoken...deep with emotion.  I love to hear my dad pray.

I was first in line this year.  Plate and fork in hand.  I wanted to etch every little detail into my brain.  My Grandma is famous for her rolls and peanut brittle.  She still single handedly makes most of the meal for all of us.  I've never seen a grittier harder working person in my life.  It's her legacy.

I wanted to remember every room filled with family.  Even though we are related I feel distant with most of them.  Time has morphed what used to be the inner core, into this large extension of second cousins I don't know and their spouses.  It's strange to go home and not recognize everyone.  But so it goes...

I eventually drifted into Grandma's unheated upstairs where I found the girls happily playing Barbie with their cousins.  Wasn't it just yesterday that was me?  Playing with those same Barbies...staying out of the way. 

I sat on the bed for the longest time shivering...thinking...remembering.  This is the same room my dad shared with one of his brothers.  He didn't have heat either and they used to put so many blankets on the bed that they could hardly move.  The patchwork carpet reminded me of mine growing up.  All the old stuffed animals and antique furniture...just Grandma stuff.

I'll admit I'm extremely sentimental.  I don't know how I ended up this way, but I'm glad God made me the way I am.  I have a huge place in my heart for remembering.  And long after she's gone and the house is sold...I'll always remember the sights, sounds and smells.  I just will and that's a gift.

As we packed up to go I told her she needed to smile for me.  She isn't big on getting her picture taken, but I think if you look real close I got one.  If not... I more than made up for it with mine:)

Have a blessed day.

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