It just wasn’t Thanksgiving this year. As you know, my mom has lung cancer with mets to the liver. She has been on and off chemo for a while now, and last Monday she had a round of the “heavy duty” chemo. So, my sisters and I decided to postpone Thanksgiving until Saturday thinking my Mom would be able to make it.
My Mom has always made Holidays special – she is always full of Holiday Spirit. I loved the Holidays growing up because she was always smiling, always listening to Christmas music, our house looked like Christmas (or Thanksgiving or Easter). She also makes the holidays very special for my kids too. You can see her Holiday Spirit in them.
This year on Thursday, I woke up with a headache so big, I wished someone would just chop my head off. I laid in bed until 1. Maybe there was a real reason I had a headache, or maybe I gave myself a headache because I was so sad Thanksgiving wasn’t going to happen. Who knows. After that, I got up and took a shower and the kids and I headed over to the only place that was open on Thanksgiving to eat – McDonalds. Are you kidding me? On Thanksgiving? I should have been having Turkey with my family – But that monster “cancer” robbed me of that. Tears welled up in my eyes as we walked in, but no one saw.
Afterwards we decided to go to the movies – We saw “Hugo” (which is a pretty good movie by the way). During the previews I sat there crying. My head was about to explode, my heart was heavy, and I wanted to be at home eating turkey with my Mom and Dad and the rest of my family. “Just get me home so I can forget this day.” Please.
When we finally got home, I had never been so happy to see my bed. This had been the first Thanksgiving ever that was not celebrated traditionally with my family. The first Thanksgiving I had not eaten turkey. The first Thanksgiving I did not ask my Mom what she was making. What time did she want us over. I wanted that day to end.
Saturday came around and my Mom was feeling much worse instead of better. So, I went through the steps of making Thanksgiving Dinner. My sisters and their boys were still coming over and Mels mom was here. But, it is hard to celebrate Thanksgiving when you know your Mom is lying in bed sick. But, on the other hand, the kids still need Thanksgiving. They still need to know the tradition of giving thanks and celebrating with family members. It was the shortest Thanksgiving ever. It was over and done in two hours.
Afterwards Jenny and I took our kids and leftovers to our parents house. My mom was still sick in bed, but I think my Dad enjoyed the belated Thanksgiving Meal.
My Mom is sick – I hope it is the chemo that is making her feel so bad. But we have done this before…and I am not convinced it is the chemo. I want to scream and yell at someone…How dare you let my Mom feel like this? I dare you let my Dad feel like this? I want to hurt someone…I want to tell my “friends” don’t bother calling me anymore. I want to tell some of my extended family “silence is louder than words, so when you finally do decide to call, you might receive the same silence we hear now”.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be about giving Thanks to what and who we have. I try to give thanks everyday for what I have. Thanksgiving is just a bigger version of that. Thanksgiving is supposed to be about spending time with friends and family you care about. This Thanksgiving I found out just who my real friends and family are. My friends and family are the ones who were with us this weekend, either really here, or the ones who were there in spirit by calling, sending a note, etc.
Am I mad? I don’t know…yes…mad at stupid cancer…no…more like seething hatred pouring out of my pores. But at times like these, it shows me what it really means to be a family and a friend. In the long run, it will make me a better family member and friend, because I know what I needed this weekend.
I am not sad about Thanksgiving itself, I am mad at what cancer is doing to my Mom. I am mad at what it is doing to my family. I am mad at it showing me the true colors of some of my friends and family. I would gladly give up celebrating Thanksgiving every year if it meant my Mom would get better. I would give up every holiday, every penny I had, my house, my car, everything I own if it meant my Mom would get better.