Grief, Tears, Laughter: First Thanksgiving After the Death of My Husband

Every way I turn, people and articles are warning me about the holidays. Is this the first Thanksgiving I will be experiencing -- celebrating? living through? -- alone, since my husband Robert died two months ago after a two-year battle with cancer.

To forewarn myself, I have been trying to remember last Thanksgiving. Nothing comes to mind. I know all the things we didn't do. I didn't cook a mighty bird. We didn't eat at home. Nope to visiting friends. Ditto for going out to a restaurant. I have images of past years but last year is a blank. What on earth did we do last Thanksgiving?

I will admit, right here and now, that the mind can be wonderful at times. Amnesia is bliss. Amnesia protects. Amnesia insulates. Amnesia is absolutely my best friend. Until.

Until. Quite an interesting word, until. I prefer to linger a bit before until hits. And hit it does. Like a sucker punch. No wonder my mind kept offering up amnesia.

Last year I had my Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, some sort of green vegetable and apple pie in the cafeteria of the big city hospital. Alone. Among strangers. While Robert was lying upstairs in a hospital bed recovering from surgery. The surgery that sealed our fate. Where the doctors leaned over the bed afterwards and said, "We can treat you, but we can't cure you." And gave him only months to live.

I've been holding onto our last ten months together. Holding on tight. The clock started ticking just before Thanksgiving last year with the surgery and stopped with Robert's death. But time keeps moving, and it is now the one-year anniversary of the surgery. Coinciding with my "Broken Heart" trip to the emergency room.

Seems while the conscious mind can offer up amnesia, the unconscious never forgets. I am awakening to time marching on. And understand that I was stuck. In the abstract, ten can still be an important number, but I am now at twelve, and apparently counting once again. Moving forward. I choose to take thanks in this.