Holidays and How our Stories Unfold

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There were two really meaningful things about Thanksgiving for me this year. Firstly, I was at my sister’s house in upstate New York. For the first time in our adult lives, we now live close enough to each other that we can do the holidays together. This is an enormous deal for me… one that makes me wish our mom was alive to be a part of it all. God, she would be so happy to see it all.

The other really meaningful thing was taking Mike and Shelby with me. On the few occasions I have gone to visit any of my family over the holidays in the past, I have always gone alone for one reason or another. Usually to save money. But now, we are just a 6 hour drive away from my sister, and even closer to my aunts and uncles in Indiana. Now, new things are possible. Now, my family finally gets to be part of the rotating holiday schedule. I’ve always wished for that...

My sister’s house is out in the country, less than an hour from the Canadian border. It snowed a few inches before we arrived, so we all had a blast building snow forts and tunnels, having snowball fights and playing flightlight tag at night, and then warming up with a dip in the hot tub before heading to bed. Our dog Rosie, who is part greyhound, was in heaven to have acres to run around in and snow to play in. There was so much laughter and silliness and play. We even managed to go for a few hikes at a nearby pond and an old paper mill by the river.

On the big day, Mike cooked the turkey, my sister and I made potatoes, my nephews made the green bean casserole, my brother-in-law and I made a delicious pumpkin latte drink in the crockpot and did rolls and other little things to get dinner ready. It was such a team effort, I could not believe we got it all done so fast. And how well we all managed to work together, despite the kitchen not being the biggest. It just all went smoothly. 

Of course Drew was never far from my mind these past few days. I knew he would have fit in just as well, and we would have had just as much fun. Yet, none of this would have likely been happening if I were still with Drew. We would have still lived very far from my sister, he and I. And likely not had the money to visit much.

I never would have moved to Ohio. And so in that way, to me it's as if he set all this in motion. And he’s still finding a way to put me in all the right places, from wherever he is now.

Though I missed seeing Drew’s family over this holiday, we did talk and share pictures with each other all day long. They are still every bit as much a part of my life as they had been before… just from a little farther away. And hopefully, next year, Mike, Shelby and I will even go down to Texas to visit all of Drew’s family for the holidays. Sometimes, it’s crazy how stories can unfold. I couldn’t have ever known how mine was going to go after Drew’s death, but somehow, it is actually beginning to unfold into beautiful new chapters I could have never known before. Chapters where everyone is focused on giving love, supporting each other, and just being together. 

 


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  • commented 2016-11-27 10:14:23 -0800
    I love you, and I love that Drew and Don brought us together in friendship. Im so happy you got to spend the weekend with your sister, and all your pictures of playing in the snow made me so happy!!! (on FB) My thanksgivings are still on the sad side, and Im rarely with my family anymore (same reasons, too expensive to get to them, etc) – but Im so happy you are able to have this life that I so envy and admire, where all the pieces of love and Drew and Meg and you and Mike and Shelby and your mom and everyone who has been lost – is a part of your life, every single day. That is what I want for myself, and I know its not EASY to do it – but its a hell of a lot better than the alternative, which is to shut out life and love and live in misery until we die. To do that would be an insult to Don and myself. He doesnt have the choice to live, and he keeps letting me know that he very much WANTS me to live and find joy, so Im trying. You have blended everything together so beautifully – you and Mike – I think its really awe-inspiring to watch it all unfold. The family you have all created and grown, build out of collective loss and love.