The first holiday without your parents is quite an event. It can be filled with grief, sadness, depression, anxiety and more. While this was the first holiday without both of my parents, it was not as bad as I thought it would be and was a lot better than last year. Yes, there was moments when I broke down and cried, and I felt a deep longing in my soul, because I miss them so much. But I know that neither of them are suffering and are at peace. They would not want me to curl up into a sad little ball – I can hear my mother say that is silly. They would want me to get on with life, and carry them in my heart. And even as I write that they would not want me to be sad, it is a melancholy that never truly does leave.
One of the things that made it possible to have joy was a visitor in the early hours on Thanksgiving morning. To some, this may sound silly, or ridiculous. But to those who have lost loved ones, I think it will sound beautiful.
It was one of the most vivid dreams that I have ever had. It was so real, and I love dreams like that. Mom and I were sitting on her couch. She was smoking like she always did, lighting her cigarettes in her particular way, like I had seen her do thousands of times. She was lovely, beautiful even. She was relaxed and happy, like she used to be before she got so sick. There was an ease and a calm about her. It felt so good to be in her presence, so good to hear her voice. And we talked about nothing, and laughed.
It seemed like it was late at night. We would often stay up talking into the wee hours, about nothing in particular but always good conversation. About politics, or crimes, or books, or the news and current events. Or the Braves, or whatever she and Dad were planning. Or her garden and what she wanted to planted or what vegetables she needed to pick. She was always so full of interesting things.
And I looked at her, smiled and said “Mom, I have really missed this with you, it is so nice just to be here.” and she looked and me and smiled, and hugged me. But this time, it wasn’t a dream hug, where she disappears, or where I wake up before I hug her. This was a real hug. I felt her arms around me, and I felt my arms around her. I felt her hair against my face as I set my head on her shoulder. And we sat there, in a wonderful embrace for a little while. And then, almost uncontrollably I said over and over, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you. And she hugged and held me tighter and closer.
Shortly afterward I woke up with the warmest feeling. She was my Thanksgiving visitor, letting me know that even though they are no longer of this world, they are here, my angels watching over me. My mother, my best friend, my confidant. I felt their presence all through the day and the weekend. And it made all the difference.