How was your Thanksgiving? Ours was. Period. It was as good as it could have been. Grief was overwhelming and certainly out-stayed its welcome this weekend.
Thursday we went over to my parent’s house for dinner. I actually volunteered to say grace. People … I don’t like to pray out loud. But I want to get better at it so I figured there isn’t a safer audience to practice on than my own family. We prayed that Owen was enjoying his turkey dinner at the feet of our Father. We prayed for the little girls who were able to have another Thanksgiving meal with their families this year. We prayed for our military personnel who fight for our freedom every day. We prayed that we would know God more this upcoming year – that we would hold strong to each other over the next year as we still attempt to heal after losing Owen. Then we eat.
Before dinner I lit an orange candle. “look mom, I brought Owen” I said with pride when we arrived. I found myself staring at the flame every once in a while. A hole in my heart was burning … a heavy piece of lead was in the pit of my stomach. We smiled and laughed. We enjoyed each other’s company, but grief was sitting on my shoulder. Watching everything I did … constantly reminding me of what our Thanksgiving had been like last year. Flashback after flashback. Yet, we eat, drank and enjoyed the holiday. Together, as a family.
The day brought back lots of flashbacks of what Thanksgiving 2010 was like. My thoughts were interrupted by Doug and I arguing about how to install the car seats. I remember how full the cart was of baby stuff as we wheeled it down the hallway and out the back door of the NICU. As I served myself some turkey, I remembered the steaks we had eaten the year before. My brother and sister were in the Macy’s day parade so Mom and Dad brought of a steak dinner instead. We had our turkey dinner a few days later when my siblings were home.
These flashbacks were so strong it was hard to focus on what I was doing here in reality. It took so much energy to focus on what was going on, I felt exhausted.
For a lack of a better way to say it, I need to interrupt these interruptions. When my mind starts to wonder I need to steer it back on track. It feels good to feel something though. To not be numb. To feel real stabbing pain. But at the same time, it’s exhausting. My boys need me. Logan, Weston, Jaden, Doug. My family needs me. I still have a life to live. I have responsibilities. I want to be healthy. I want to deal with my feelings in the best way … a way that will leave me able to live life, to care for my kids. I want to be healthy. I want to take care of myself. I just don’t know how to do that right now.
I’ll figure it out. I’ve got 103 books I could read that I received as gifts after the funeral. I go to a grief support group as well as individual grief counseling. I attend church on a regular basis and talk opening with my friends and family on how I am feeling. I’m just not sure it’s enough. I don’t know if I doing it “right.” Please refrain from the reassuring words of “You are doing exactly what you are supposed to do” or “you are so strong” Am I really? How do you know if I’m doing is right? How does anyone know for sure? Where is that magic ball when you need it?
I don’t want to be a ‘downer.’ I want to find my balance again. Bare with me while I struggle these days. Life is still good. God still loves me. The sun will rise and set. This too shall pass …
Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving day: