Two Thanksgiving celebrations down, and one to go.
It's been an interesting couple of days. Friday night I hosted an office Thanksgiving potluck at my home. Almost every person from the office came, along with their families. There was so much food, wine and desert, and everyone was in a very good mood. Most had hoped to meet Abel, and since he had to work, I was explaining all night as to why he wasn't present.
Since most of the folks I work with have never been to my home I took the time to give each of them the official tour. What I realized is that this crowd of people never knew Michael, or of my life with him. Of course many have likely heard that I am widowed, but it is something that is more historical information to them. As each entered my bedroom they were greeted by the large wedding photo of Michael and I, which is balanced across the room with his urn. To create a festive mood throughout the house I had votive candles everywhere. Two specific candles are often burning on each side of the urn. I think these images were a bit jarring for each guest, as it put some reality into what I have experienced over the years.
On Saturday I had another early Thanksgiving celebration, this time at my parents' home. All of my brothers and their families were present, and with each person that greeted me there was the same question, "where is Abel?" That part was very similar to the questions and responses on Friday night, only this crowd had a very personal perspective of not only my loss, but of theirs.
I was enjoying a glass of wine with my sister-in-law, and having a real heart to heart when she commented about how quickly life can change. She was remembering her weekend visit to my home at the end of the summer, and how I was expressing that I was now ready to begin dating. She pointed out that the expression on my face now is very different than times in the recent past. She said that I look happy for a change. As we spoke more about Abel she shared with me that even though she is happy for me, and Abel seems like a nice guy, it is very difficult to see me with somebody new. She told me that even though it's been two years, she still thinks about how much she and everyone loved Michael, and how she misses him. My sister-in-law said that Michael was such a special person, the type that doesn't come along very often.
I appreciated what my sister-in-law shared with me. It was a good reminder that others around me continue to be affected by Michael being taken so soon. I know that my family is pleased that I have found happiness with someone new, but they will need time to adjust, as they don't see me, or us, often.
Before we began to eat our Thanksgiving meal all of us formed a circle in the room. We joined hands for the Thanksgiving prayer. My father voiced a collective thanksgiving for all that we have, and for what God will continue to provide us. These words sort of took me to another place. Yes, I am thankful, yet part of me is still feeling the sting of personalizing that God took Michael from me. I know that this internal debate, did he take him, or was it just his time, is not something worth wrestling with. I know that if God did take him, it is not for me to know why. So for now I will focus on being thankful for what I have.
I am thankful for my children, and the love we share between us. I am thankful for all of my extended family, and for the many years my parents, and each of my brothers, have been given in their marriages. I am thankful for all of my widowed friends, and all those that come here to read, connect, and heal. And yes, I am thankful that for now, and for how ever long I am blessed with this new person in my life, I have companionship.
One more Thanksgiving to go, which will be just my kids, Abel and me. No explanations needed.