As a child, my Thanksgiving memories solely revolved around my paternal grandparents. Until I was 4, we lived in neighboring towns. We lived 4 hours away for the next 6 years before moving more than 8 hours away. We spent spent every Thanksgiving at their home until I was about 12 when the 8+ hour drive each direction became too much for a 4 day weekend. I remember being in tears when my parents told me that we would be spending Thanksgiving at home! I could not fathom how that would be possible...it HAD to be at Grandma B's house. I survived and even enjoyed Thanksgiving again as time passed. My Grandma B. lived until a couple months after Shaggy was born and I treasured her. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's years before her death and while that time was very difficult for all of her family, I grew to adore her even more. My Aunt and Uncle moved in with her to be her caretakers so she would not have to leave her home. Over the years as an adult I was able to visit with her and stay with her to give my Aunt and Uncle a weekend away. I remember the exact moment and place I was standing when Grandma looked at me and asked who I was. I was devastated. It then dawned on me that while her memories of me may have been taken by this nasty disease, her trust in me was still there. Somehow, my presence comforted her and we now just talked about different things...like the deer she saw taking up residence on the roof down the street. She was still my Grandma and she still had her fabulous stories to tell...she just thought they had happened recently.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving today, I choose to not be sad for those who are no longer with us in body, but to be grateful that they are still with us in our hearts and that I was blessed to have them in my life for a bit.
Oh, and I will have an extra helping of mashed potatoes in my Grandma B's honor... hers were the best!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all...and Happy Birthday, Mari!
This was our wedding day with my sis, parents and Grandma B. The photo I was searching for is one of 4 generations with Shaggy. Kind of glad I couldn't locate it...that trip deserves a post of its own one day).