The first snowfall of the season is occurring outside as I sit and write this blog. I know I was supposed to write this almost a week ago, but between family gathering, packing, enjoying some reading and some good down time, well, I am just now sitting down to write this. On the night of the first snowfall. Just 5 days ago I actually was able to wear shorts for an afternoon run (extremely rare in Ohio at this time of year.) Now , tomorrow, as I get up at 4 to go for a run, I will be breaking out the under armour clothing and gloves. Evidence of life going on....seasons changing yet again. Such a parallel to life and to my grief process.
I wanted to say in my last blog what I spent last Thanksgiving doing, though now that that has passed, it seems irrelevant. It was a tradition to watch the Macy's day parade growing up. No matter how much food was in the oven, mom always sat down to watch the parade. We loved it. And those are moments I will remember forever. Upon starting my own family, it became a tradition that stayed with me and my kids. We all look forward to the parade. Last year, knowing it was quite likely the last Thanksgiving with mom, I picked up coffee for me and her (we enjoyed having a cup together quite often) and went to the hospital, where she was on that day, and spent the morning sitting with her watching the parade until she was too tired. It's a Thanksgiving memory that was hard, yes, but is one I will keep with me forever. Even in her last months, she was still such a fighter, living life to the most normal as possible. We sat down and watched the parade this year, as we always do. Of course, mom was in my mind the whole time. Bittersweet. I made it through the day, as God has helped me get through each one since she passed. I had my private moments of tears and remembering, but we also shared a lot of laughs, which is how mom would've wanted it. My brother cooked the turkey (and did an amazing job on it, along with the stuffing and a delicious salad), my sister and mother in law cooked pies, I made mom's sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and corn pudding, and Dad made the mashed potatoes from scratch! Oh, if mom could've seen him, she would've been so proud. He did a great job on them! The day was nice over all. I sure missed having Michael there, though, as he had to work. It was just a very different day.
My siblings and I played games in the evening. Games have always been a tradition in our home-be it a holiday or a Friday or just any day of the week. We never needed an excuse. We love games. One of our favorites (I should say the girls' favorite-mom, Becky, and I) is Dutch Blitz. We hadn't played this since mom passed, and on Thanksgiving we played. And boy, did we laugh. My brother, who really doesn't like the game all that much, joined my sister and I, and we laughed so hard. It was bittersweet. I can't speak for them, but again, mom was in the back of my mind the whole time. She would've been laughing harder than any of us at the site of the 3 of us playing.
And so the day was different , as we all knew it would be, but again God proved faithful and got me through. Moving through grief is not easy. The holidays are hard. There is a lot of fun remembering. There is also a lot of recognizing mom not being here. I am so thankful for the many years of memories stored up.
Tonight, as the first snow falls, I finally decided to put on some Christmas music. As I have listened to it, it has made me think of mom a lot. Being in the process of moving, we are not putting up decorations, which is really ok with me this year. In so doing, it feels a little less like the season. Tonight, however, with the snow falling and the music on, I am very aware of the time of year, and the ache for mom is strong tonight. Hearing her favorite Christmas songs, thinking now about last year's, and all the previous years, and what this year's means, it's a wave of emotions. I imagine the season will hold a lot of that. But God is faithful. And one day at a time, He continues to carry me through the process, teaching me new ways to laugh, new traditions to start with my family, ways to remember mom, restoration of my heart and soul, and little moments to grab onto through this bittersweet season.
Psalm 23:1-3 "The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul."