In our household, November was always a very busy month. The first part of the month involved my husband preparing for opening day of rifle deer-hunting season. He looked forward to his annual trek up north, where he and his buddies would spend countless hours and days in the woods.
For nearly two weeks prior to his departure, every surface of our house was draped in hunting gear and weapons. Once he was on his way, I looked forward to a few days of alone time to watch whatever I wanted on TV, read, eat what I wanted and attend one of many local Ladies Night Out events. I missed my husband while he was away, but absence makes the heart grow fonder … or so I thought.
Upon his return from the hunt, we immediately launched into Thanksgiving Mode, with the dinner often hosted at our house. It was my husband’s job to call and make sure Grandma and all his brothers and families could join us. He also shopped for the turkey and cooked it on Thanksgiving Day. I did the rest.
Thanksgiving Day was always a great time – that is, until 2019. Earlier that year, my husband had become seriously ill. On Thanksgiving Day, our kids and I spent the day in Dad’s hospital room. We knew there was nothing that could be done for him, and that he would soon leave us. When the time came, we were all at his bedside to say our goodbyes and assure him we would take care of each other.
I kissed my husband’s lips and told him I loved him. He then took his final breath and after 31 years of marriage, my life partner was gone.
Thanksgiving no longer meant anything special to me. On the first anniversary of his passing, I didn’t want anyone around except our kids. I didn’t want to cook, or even eat. My kids were home, though, so I am grateful to The Laundry in Fenton, from where I was able to order an entire Thanksgiving Dinner for us.
This year will be different. I have so much to be thankful for. I’m grateful that I have a nice home, wonderful children, that I was able to retire comfortably and have so many memories to cherish. What I’m most thankful for is that unlike the many people who have tragically lost loved ones during this pandemic, I was able to be at my husband’s side before he passed away. He didn’t die alone.
My husband loved Thanksgiving, so I will now carry on his tradition and celebrate the day, and his life, with a grateful heart. I am alive and the sun still comes up in the morning. Maybe I’ll even cook a turkey.