Matt, Thanksgiving is over. Today is full of reflection. Our gathering yesterday was a far cry from those days before your death. The days when the house was full of family, friends and laughter.
Over the years our family has grown smaller either through death or conflict. It was a blessing to have Aunt Mary at 90 be healthy enough to join us for dinner. It was a blessing to have our long time friends and Rays daughter and her new fiancé share the day with us. Rather than a houseful of people we had 6 for which I am thankful.
Please don’t get me wrong I have much to be thankful for. I’m thankful for all the years we had together. I’m grateful for all those beautiful holidays we celebrated as a family. Grateful for having you and your brother sitting around the table grabbing pieces of turkey feeding them to the pups. Thankful for all those lazy days we spent by the sea. For our talks and walks sharing life. I’m thankful for all those beautiful memories we made but grieving that there will be no more. I’m grateful you spent those last years of your life living with me but broken that your life was cut short and you no longer walk through the door or hug me good night. I’m grieving your empty chair and your handsome face that is now missing from family photos. I’m grateful I took so many pictures as they have become precious treasures.
I’m grateful I had the chance to support you through your disease. I’m grateful you knew you were loved. I’m grieving that I know more now than I did then and I wonder how life would be today if I had that knowledge when we needed it most.
I’m grateful for your life. Grateful to have been your mom. Grateful that I was able to watch you grow from a baby into a man. Grateful to have shared your dreams and watched as you made them come true. I’m grieving the dreams we had for your recovery. For a future wife and children to fill our lives with joy.
I feel like I’m severed in two pieces. Both grateful and grieving as I continue to navigate this path trying to figure out how to survive this life…….
Matt, the holidays are approaching and I feel like I’m drowning.
I’m surprised that after surviving 8 years of holidays without you my heart continues to ache.
There are so many things I’m trying to juggle. I feel like letting those balls shatter on the ground while I walk away from it all. Time I’ve found is no help as the holidays coming remain as brutal as ever.
I feel like I’m fractured. Broken in half. The before and after, the then and now dance through my mind everyday. Memories of what used to be. The laughter, the love, the togetherness fractured like my soul.
The Monday before Thanksgiving I have my CT scan looking for any sign of returning cancer. The thought takes my breath away as I remember the healthy me before that dreaded C word became a part of my life. The holidays were tough enough without this hanging over my head. Grieving you, grieving me, grieving the holidays that used to be.
Your brother is distant. I know he shares my grief. I had hoped we could be a comfort to each other as time went on. I had hoped that my diagnosis would have us clinging to each other as we are all that’s left of us. Sadly the opposite is true. I grieve for the relationship I Imagined but do not have. I wonder if I will survive long enough to see it change.
If someone had told me I’d be living this life I would have laughed and walked away. Never in my wildest dreams did I see this coming. Never did I think your addiction would be fatal and our dreams for the future would be crushed on that cruel, cold, January morning so many years ago.
Never did I think I would be struggling to find my footing on unstable ground. Never did I think my world would be so unbelievably full of sadness that time is powerless to heal. I saw things so differently when I thought about life and growing older. I saw family celebrating the holidays together. I heard laughter, imagined smiling faces as we gathered around the Thanksgiving table. I imagined a life of making new memories as the holidays came and went.
The reality is your death fractured my life. Blindsided us both, crushing the future I envisioned. Now, I continue to hold onto memories hoping they become a healing balm soothing my raw edges allowing peace to enter and carry me through life without you 💔