Remembering Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is Matt’s favourite holiday.

Last year, Thanksgiving knocked me sidewise.

I couldn’t remember Matt’s last Thanksgiving. It bugged me so much that I had this big hole of lost time with Matt. That I couldn’t remember him enjoying his favourite holiday. From what I’ve been able to piece together from our families, he was feeling pretty rough and may not have enjoyed it very much.

But what happened after Thanksgiving was too clear.

The day after Thanksgiving, we were at the hospital for an appointment with our oncologist. I hung back after the appointment and he told me that Matt would live for a few more weeks. I said, “Christmas?” He said, “No.”

I remember how it felt to come home to Ellie and hold her as I laid on the floor and sobbed. I remember not telling Matt what the oncologist had said.

From Thanksgiving to November 9 last year, I was living a flashback. I remember how rough Matt felt and I remember how hard we were holding on.

I’m worried that the flashbacks will happen again this year. I’m worried that Thanksgiving will lead to another spiral.

But I’m also choosing to remember before.

Thanksgiving is Matt’s favourite holiday.

There are lots of Thanksgivings before last year and the last one.

He loves the turkey–the bigger the better. He’s particular about his potatoes–and must mash them personally. He and his brothers have their own language when they are together (obscure movie quotes that are meaningless to everyone else).

Ellie and I have been working on finding the joy and the love and the gratitude–as we always do.

We’ve been writing what we’re thankful for on paper leaves and sticking them on our thankful tree. Ellie made a picture at preschool of her and Daddy “when they were turkeys.” I found a fortune laying on the ground behind our car that says, “Someone is looking out for you.”

It is so, so hard that Matt is not here in the way I wish he was. But I am thankful for every way he is with us.

Happy Thanksgiving. Whatever your situation, I hope that you can find happiness today.

Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving here in Canada. I’m thankful for many things. My husband, our daughter, our dog and our cat. Our families, this farm, good food.

The silo at sunrise in the fall

Most of all this year I’m thankful for time. We often feel that there’s not enough time. Or we wish we were doing something else with our time.

At the start of this year, I proclaimed my word of the year was “slow.”

I wrote:

“We have to do our absolute best to live a life that we are satisfied with. I want to feel good about what I do, who I am with and how I spend my time. And the word “spend” is important. Time is valuable. Time is precious.”

Over the past little while, I feel like I’ve found a balance of how I spend my time. I have time to work and create and relax. Time with my family and with myself. I treasure each of these moments and don’t take them for granted.

Every day is very full, and there is pressure. There are trade-offs and the balance doesn’t always look the same. But usually by the end of the day I feel at peace with what I’ve done and how I’ve spent my time.

I’m very thankful for that.

A few weeks ago I saw a sign on the side of the road that said, “You have what you need for this moment.”

This message was an affirmation that I have the strength, the skills, the energy, the ability, the support to face whatever comes. It’s also a reminder to live in the moment and not worry about what’s ahead.

Today is going to be full of moments with my amazing family at our lovely farm. I’m thankful for this time.

Happy Thanksgiving.