Tag Archives: grief

Thanksgiving Reflections

Thanksgiving was kind of weird for me this year. My Mom died in June of 2013 after eight years of illness, leaving me a fully grown orphan, and this year is the first string of holidays that will be carried out normally without either of my parents. Halloween didn’t bother me even though we always did a lot at Halloween, Thanksgiving on the other hand…

Macy's Parade
Macy’s Parade

Last year, my daughter’s marching band participated in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. Having never been to NYC, my husband, son and I went along as followers. It was a band trip, and she was mostly with the band, and we didn’t get to see her hardly at all, so it simultaneously sucked and was wonderful. We loved NYC and plan to go back next summer for a few days WITH my daughter so we can take her to the Public Library (which she will love) and so she can take US to the top of the Empire State Building after dark. Anyway, last Thanksgiving didn’t tickle my grieving because we were not home. We were gone the entire week and when we got home we were so tired we mostly slept. I don’t even remember putting up the Christmas tree last year, but we clearly did it, because I DO remember it being up on Christmas Day.

NYC Public Library.  That's my idea of heaven right there...
NYC Public Library. That’s my idea of heaven right there…

THIS year, we didn’t go to NYC. We didn’t go anywhere. The only one of my kid’s grandparents that is left is my mother-in-law. She came over for dinner and we played games after dinner. We had a good time. But it was a quiet holiday. It was a little sad, and a little lonely. All of our friends have families of their own to go to, and despite my best efforts, I can never find any strays to invite over.

I usually have a very “Thanksgiving-y” looking table. I love to decorate things. If I had as much money as they do, I could give Martha Stewart or Sandra Lee a run for their money with my “table scapes.” As it is, I do pretty well, but I just couldn’t bring myself to bring out the fall colors. This year, I used my mom’s ivy adorned china, and my grandmother’s silver. Then I went around the house and gathered up a bunch of stuff that reminded me of fall and Thanksgiving and the journey that was taken across the pond in a search for freedom and did my table with all new stuff. Ok, the china pilgrims are always out, but none of the other stuff is. I decided to change things up. Shake up at least the appearance of our celebration. The after dinner game was new too. Usually, we have a wii bowling tournament. I really didn’t want to do it this year because all it does is remind me of people who are no longer here, both friends and family. Plus, my mother-in-law has been going to wii bowling at the Senior Center for the last year and a half or so and would’ve kicked all of our behinds 😉

Part of this year's tablescape.
Part of this year’s tablescape.

I know that these light on people holidays are just a phase of our lives. Someday our kids will get married and have kids of their own, and we’ll have next gen family and in-law family to get together with. I know that as time passes, friends will need a place to go, and I’ll keep looking for strays. I KNOW this is just a temporary condition, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I know that after you lose someone, it takes about three years to begin to recover, so we have another year and a half and the loss of my Mom will get easier, but for now, knowing all that doesn’t really help.

Another view of the table.
Another view of the table.

I am thankful though that we had fun. My food was amazing if I say so myself. We laughed a lot playing the game after dinner and we got a nice drive in when we took my MIL home. It was a beautiful holiday and I’m grateful for everyone that was there. I’m also grateful for the ones who weren’t because they left me with enough good memories to make me miss them. That’s cool, right?

Have a great night, and be the light for someone whenever you get the chance. 🙂

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Book Opinion: There’s More to Life Than This by Theresa Caputo

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Okie dokie friends, I told you that you never know what you’ll get here because I read lots of different things and this one is different.

The night after my father died, I was laying in bed in the dark trying to sleep. My eyes were closed and my mind was calming down, but I still couldn’t sleep. Suddenly, on the inside of my closed eyelids, I saw an old photograph. It was perfectly square with narrow white borders and the photo showed a sepia toned forest. There were no people, just the woods as they look in Ohio. Very suddenly, to the left of the photograph, a tall, slim, young man with short,thick, wavy black hair, wearing jeans with a rolled cuff at the ankles, an argyle sweater, and some kind of heavy dark shoes walked into the scene. He was carrying a shotgun. The butt of the gun was in his right hand, and the barrel was leaning on his shoulder. I could see him at about a 3/4 view, so I could see the pattern on his sweater, but only kind of the side of his face. He was about two thirds of the way back in the photo, so I could see his whole body. Just as suddenly, a large dog, a little shaggy, with a flag tail held straight up behind him, bounded into the picture, also from the left and ran up behind the young man. The dog was so happy. It was bounding around the man, obviously excited to see him. The man looked down, rubbed the top of the dog’s head, stood up straight, turned his face directly to me, and smiled a dazzling white smile directly into my eyes, turned and snapped his fingers at the dog and walked away into the woods, with his dog happily bounding around behind him. They disappeared into the trees and were gone. The photograph faded and I opened my eyes. The young man was my Father. He was in Heaven with Red, the dog he loved as a young man, and they were going hunting. He came to say goodbye to me because I didn’t get to see him before he left. It made me feel better and I can close my eyes and still see the scene, but tears are running down my face as I write this.

A couple of years ago, Theresa Caputo, better known as the Long Island Medium, caught my attention on her TV show. I watch it all the time and am fascinated by it. She seems legitimate to me and that’s saying something, because I am very suspicious of any flavor of psychic or medium because so many of them are charlatans, but Theresa seems to be the real thing. I like her. She seems normal. I think we could be really good friends, so my opinion of her and her book may be biased a little. Full disclosure here.

The book was written with ghost (lol) writer Kristina Grish. They obviously had a really good working relationship because Theresa’s voice is evident throughout. It sounds like her. I can almost picture her face and hear her talking through most of the book. She tells us about her life in addition to what goes on in Spirit. We learn that she had night terrors and terrible anxiety as a child and young woman, because she didn’t know what was happening. Eventually, she found a woman named Pat who was able to help and guide her and teach her how to protect herself from the Spirits who just wouldn’t stop communicating with her. Theresa talks about meeting and marrying her husband Larry and talks a lot about her children and her large extended Italian family. There is a lot of love there, and it was nice to hear about it.

Theresa also talks about God, angels, Heaven, guides and Jesus. She hits on what seems to be the major high points of the extensive knowledge of the whole deal that she has. There is no way it could all be laid out in one book, but what she gives us is very interesting and validates a lot of the thoughts I’ve had about God and Heaven and spirituality. She talks extensively about the lessons our souls are sent here by God to learn. She also acknowledges that it was very difficult for her to reconcile some of the things she now knows with the Catholicism she was raised in. I’m paraphrasing here, but she says that being raised Catholic, she was taught that you die, you go to heaven and you stay there with God; it took a little time for her to accept that there is so much more to it than we are taught.

I recommend this book for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it’s fascinating; the book really gives a lot of insight to a topic that not a lot of people know anything about. It’s also entertaining and a well written, quick read. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it is also very helpful and comforting. It validated for me, that the vision I had of my Dad after his death, was sent to me by him to let me know that he was healthy and whole, with his dog, hunting in Heaven. As Theresa would say, I know that at that exact moment his soul was with me. I’m also starting to suspect that when my son was about two years old and told me that he knew my daughter when they were in baby Heaven, he was probably right.

Have a great day and read a good book 🙂