This year, Thanksgiving is going to be very different around my house than in previous years. It is the first Thanksgiving without my father. Dad passed away three days after Thanksgiving last year and my husband and I spent Thanksgiving with him at the hospice where he was staying at the time. Although Dad was very weak, he managed a last spurt of energy to enjoy the Thanksgiving meal I made for him and brought to the hospice. He laughed and joked with us and enjoyed watching football like he always did...When we were leaving that evening he said to us, He said, "Put the Pitt game on," and then we said we said "goodnight" to him. It would be the last time we would see him awake and alert. Dad was unresponsive the next two days until he took his final breath early on Sunday morning--I was right at his side.
My husband and I are spending a quiet Thanksgiving this year at home--just the two of us. Although we were invited to spend the day with family in Pittsburgh, we decided not to travel. My husband in British/Canadian so Thanksgiving does not hold the meaning for my husband as it does for me. I can fondly remember many wonderful Thanksgivings of not so long ago when I still lived in Pittsburgh and my parents were still alive (mom has been gone for 6 years now). My family would go to my Aunt Helen's house and we were joined there my Aunt Margie and her family. The ladies would prepare an unbelievable Thanksgiving dinner--a large turkey, chestnut stuffing, the smoothest gravy I have ever tasted, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole (see my 11/22 posting for recipe), green bean casserole, Sally Lunn bread, cranberry bread, and pumpkin chiffon and pecan pies. Great wine would accompany our feast. It was, without a doubt the perfect Thanksgiving. And I miss it.
But times change, and sadly so do our holiday celebrations. My mother passed away. Aunt Helen moved to Texas. I moved to New York. We all have our own families and busy lives now. But the memories of all of those special Thanksgivings will always stay with me.
My cooking skills don't quite measure up to my mother's or my aunts'--but today I will try. I won't be making all of the items (no baking pies or bread for me) we had at Aunt Helen's but I will prepare some of the favorite family dishes which will give me some comfort today as I think about the days gone by.
Yes, this Thanksgiving will be bittersweet. I will miss my mother and father, but at the same time I am grateful for the many blessings in my life: my husband, my health, family and friends, a great job, and most especially for my wonderful parents who taught me the importance of family and gave me so many great memories of Thanksgivings past.
I will stop blogging now so that I can put the turkey in the oven!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!