Philippians 1:3 – I thank my God every time I remember you.
This is our first Thanksgiving away from many people that we love. I’ve known all year that this would be my first Thanksgiving away from my step-mom. She passed away on Dec 1 last year. At this point last year she was in hospice care and was incoherent. I don’t really count that holiday as my last with her. I prefer to remember the other holidays where she laughed at everything, cooked way too much, and made us all remember how abundant life can be. This whole year I’ve missed her presence in ways that surprised me. I knew that birthdays and holidays would be tough but other times would catch me off guard. I would eat something with coconut and remember her extreme hatred of this wonderful misnomer of a fruit. I know she’d be thrilled to see how tall both my sons are. And I hate that she will miss so many things that my kids are doing. So as I list the things for which I’m thankful, I’m thankful that I’m missing Debbie. Because her presence in my life made life more vibrant and for that I am thankful.
This is also our first Thanksgiving without my Father-in-law. He passed away on Wednesday, November 19. I remember my first Thanksgiving after getting married. It was an amazing experience. Mr. Karafanda commanded the kitchen as he and a few others cooked for around 30 people. Since I came from a small family this was overwhelming in a good way. As dinner started we were upgraded from the children’s table to the head table as it was our first Thanksgiving together. As each of our children were born, Gigi (as he was known to the children) showed his true colors as a baby whisperer. He would walk our babies around and sing “You Are My Sunshine”to each of them. I’m not sure where he learned this amazing gift, but I am still amazed at this nurturing side of him that gave us all a bit of sanity from crying babies. So as I list the things for which I am thankful, I’m thankful for John (Gigi) Karafanda. There maybe one less John Karafanda in this world but I am thankful for my-big-fat-Ukrainian-family and for the love he showed to me and my children.
Finally this is my first Thanksgiving since being married away from He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Tagged. He is with his mom and sisters in New York. It is just days after his father’s funeral. The kids and I couldn’t get up there for the funeral for a reasonable cost. So we have been apart for a few days and will be for a few more. In many ways its only a few more days but in other ways this separation feels more empty than the others. But in all things we are thankful. I am thankful that He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Tagged made it up to his father’s side before he passed away. I’m thankful that He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Tagged is able to be there with his mother for a bit longer.
And I am thankful that my Thanksgiving won’t be one apart from all of these people. They are all a part of me. I believe in the communion of saints. I believe that we will meet again and I believe that because of their place in my heart, they are never far away.
May God be with us and know that we are thankful.
Until Everyone Hears,