Thanksgiving day….come and gone already. How did that happen? Tuesday was spent with cooking ALL DAY LONG….so we would have most of it done! Then, I kid you NOT….we cleaned on Wednesday ALL DAY LONG from 9am to 6pm (we have a big house) and the only time we really deep clean it is when someone is coming over for dinner. We had 13 people over for dinner, and it was glorious and fun and happy, and everything that a Thanksgiving day gathering should be.
There was “Chaos in the kitchen” before dinner, while the last minute preparations of potatoes needing to be mashed and turkey needing to be carved and dressing getting burned a little went on! Then all the EATING and STUFFING and laughing around the dinner table…..then coffee and playing games! Finely it is time for dessert! We had Three….Pumkin Pie (of course), coconut cream pie, and then…..the traditional apple pie …..my mother in law always brought her apple pie to Thanksgiving. She made the best pie crust! She made the best EVERYTHING. We lost her last February suddenly and unexpectedly. This was our first Thanksgiving without her. None of us were looking forward to it. It has been a hard 9 months for us and my husbands sister and her family….My Mother in law “Evelyn” was the go to for almost everything. She was organized, never forgot a birthdate, always knew the protocol for everything….was never late for an appointment, was the cleanest woman I ever met, the least judgemental person on earth and had the sweetest spirit! I loved her in the way a best friend loves her sweet and opposite BFF…..(the way I love my mild mannered and more gentle spirited BFF of 38 yrs) I would kick anyones butt who tried to hurt them kind of love!
Last Thanksgiving was our last with her and it was probably our best! We had her and my husbands sisters family for dinner and they all stayed over night (lots of snow) and we all went shopping the next day for new Christmas trees…..it was a barrel of laughs and also a particularly “sad” day as well. It was our first Thanksgiving without “Grampa” my husbands father….who had been battling Cancer for several years (he had passed on Thanksgiving day). Evelyn and Ron had been married for 53 yrs. I have always felt so thankful for Ron and Everyln and their example of family and marriage. Because of them I have my husband who walks out their example in our family.
Never in a million years did I EVER think that we would be celebrating another Thanksgiving “this” year without now having Evelyn at our table and in our presence helping with all the last minute chaos….It is still so unbelievable….we are still in such shock. I remember last year as I sat with her in her house at the end of the day on Thanksgiving, while waiting for my husband to take his sister home. She sat in the chair and looked up at the clock (it was 7pm) and said “It has been exactly one year Barbie” I knew what she was talking about. One year since Ronnie’s death….he died at 7pm. We had all thought about it that day…..it was hard (very hard)….but we still tried to make it a happy day. Gary’s Mom was such a trooper. However, there we sat her and I….I asked her if it had gotten at all easier as time had passed…..without hesitation she replied “no” …..thats all just “no”and wiped the tears out of her eyes…..I felt so helpless and sad… I wanted to make it all better for her. She missed him so much. I just ached for her. At the same time I found comfort that we still had “her” so healthy and full of life. She was not an emotional woman (unlike me) and I counted it a privilege that she would entrust me with her emotions at that very moment. I don’t even remember what I said to her in response or how I tried to comfort her (I’m sure I did” something”) it would be completely unlike me to keep my mouth shut, but whatever it was it fell far short of making it any better….so I just sat with her quietly. Never would I have guessed we only had a few months left with her. If I had known there would be so many things I would have done differently. I loved her deeply, and I miss her like she was my own Mom.
So this year for Thanksgiving, we honored her by making “her” stuffing/dressing recipe (along with mine too) which we always did. However, what was the most special of all was the fact that she had always made up pie’s, cookies and pie shells and put them in her freezer ready to go for any last minute thing she might need. Every time my husband and I went to her house he would go directly to the basement and reappear back upstairs with a handful of her raisin oatmeal cookies, all frozen with a big smile on his face…..she never batted an eye….in fact I know she LOVED that. So when we cleaned out the freezer….I grabbed all those pies and we ate them together with all the siblings and their families…..we left the cookies and we all ate them each time we went to her house to do more clearing out of stuff….it was just sort of a comfort thing we all understood. The last thing left was the pie shells…..there were two…..I took them and put them in my freezer with the intention that we might someday want to make a pie and use them. As I put the turkey away in the freezer to wait for Thanksgiving this year I noticed the pie shells…..and thought about her apple pie….that we would not be having this year….then suddenly I thought “oh yes we will” so my husband made the apple pie and used those two shells…one for the bottom and the other for the top. It was as if Evelyn herself had brought her pie to our Thanksgiving feast.
As I cut the first piece I felt this pain in my heart….I almost didn’t want to let anyone have any….I felt like it was our last goodbye to anything her hands had made (well food wise that is) and I wanted to run in the other room and bawl like a baby, but I dished it up and thought to myself….I will saver every last bite….just as I saver every last memory that I have of that wonderful woman. I miss her so much, and I look forward to the day I see her and Ron again. We will have all eternity together.