Thanksgiving Grief

 

In coming up with the idea for this post, I thought, maybe it’s not a good idea.  Maybe it’s just too sad for the holidays. And then I thought, you know, there are people out there that will be going through the very same thing as I did.  There are people who have recently lost someone dear and may be dealing with the loss through the holidays.  I can at least give them hope and show them that although it’s tough to manage, it does get better.  I still miss Dave big time and always will, and I know that he’s still going to be with us during Thanksgiving and every holiday…just in a different way….

I had no idea it was going to hit me so hard. Dave died in August and I was able to manage a few special occasions without completely losing it, including Sierra’s 6th birthday in October.  Who knows when the emotions are going to hit hard?  You don’t…..until it happens.

Between Dave and me, he had always been the better cook.  Although over the last few years, I’ve learned more patience in the kitchen, I still like to rush things if I can.  If the recipe says 45 minutes at 350 degrees, I should be able to crank it up to 450 to shorten the time to about 30 minutes right?!  I remember that Dave would always walk by the stove as I was cooking and turn down the heat so whatever was cooking, wasn’t on “full boil”.

Ever since he moved to Maui from the Boston area, Dave would handle the Thanksgiving feast. One of things he made every year was his mom’s stuffing.  I would help to make the toast and try not to burn them.  Believe me…it’s happened! Lol!

Thanksgiving 2006 was the first Thanksgiving without Dave. I tried as much as I could to “manage” it, but honestly you can only control it to a certain extent.  Keep busy and try to keep your emotions in check….but it doesn’t always work.

I decided that I wanted to do something special for Thanksgiving to remember Dave.  So, I decided to make the stuffing he had made every year on this holiday.  I also told his family back East of my plan.  They thought it was a great idea! I think the family was also glad that they were miles away so they didn’t have to eat the stuffing!

My cooking was kind of a Castles family joke. Dave had told them many stories about my cooking, including the time I made meatballs and I overdid the breadcrumbs. He explained on the phone to the family that when he took a bite of one of my meatballs, “the meatball sucked all the saliva from my body.” He actually called them, “absorbing balls”. Thanks Dave! I have to admit though…it’s true!

So….I went to the store before Thanksgiving day and picked up all the ingredients based on Marilyn’s (Dave’s mom’s) hand written recipe. It took FOREVER to make and Sierra and I were actually late to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.

The funny thing was…and I will probably never live this down with the family…but my stuffing turned out green!! Why?….because it said to add parsley, but didn’t say how much, so I loaded it up! Parley’s good right? Healthy! They said I should make it for St Patrick’s Day too! Thanks…maybe I will!

I wish I could say how my “memorial” stuffing came out, but I can’t. As soon as I made a plate and sat down to eat, it hit me.

Dave was not here. Dave died. Here I am trying to honor him with stuffing…

I tried to chew and swallow some of my meal, but it’s really hard to swallow when you are sobbing.  I left my plate, left the table and went into the living room. I sat there and just could not stop crying.  No matter how hard I tried, I could not stop. For almost an hour, tears just flowed and the sadness was so overwhelming and I felt like I would never be able to stop. Ever!

Sierra was hanging out with her cousins and having a good time so I decided that rather than passing my sadness on to everyone else, I’d head back home alone. It was absolutely the worst Thanksgiving ever!

That was actually not the only time that’s happened.  I’ve lost it many times, sometimes on special occasions, sometimes something will just pop into my head that will cause the emotions to flow.  It still happens.  It’s normal. Expressing emotions and going through the grieving process is a way to heal.  But for me the emotions will always be there.  I’m actually glad that I still experience them and I know it’s because Dave meant a lot to me.

I got better at making the stuffing. Of course, I still think about Dave every Thanksgiving, every holiday, ever occasion…well just about every day.  I have those great memories of the past holidays to cherish and of course that memory of my  “absorbing balls”. In fact, I’m thinking of using my meatball recipe to help people.  I think it would be great to invent a product to help prevent flooding. Don’t you?! I’m sure Dave would approve 🙂

This was Thanksgiving 2001 with my parents and grandmother. Sierra was just a year old…

I’m thankful that I had Dave Castles in my life. I learned a lot from him, we made many great memories, and I am very grateful for the 11 years we spent together. I’m also very thankful for Sierra, and that we get to spend Thanksgiving together in San Diego where she’s playing in a soccer tournament. Yay! I get to watch my girl play…and I know Dave will be watching too. In fact, I’ve been told that he has been running right along side her on the soccer field. He was always a very active and supportive dad!

Oh, one more memory about this holiday…… Dave used to tell his family back East that for Thanksgiving my family eats fish heads. Well, it’s sort of true. After all, we live in Maui so we did have some whole fish along with the usual Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings. However, he made it seem like that’s all we had! So although we are in San Diego this holiday, I’m going to try to find some fish heads just for you Dave 🙂

Take this holiday to be thankful for those who were part of your life and know that they will always be in your life. Cherish those memories….they go with you wherever you go. And remember that the emotions continue because the love continues….

Happy Holidays to all here and in spirit!


One Response to Thanksgiving Grief

  1. Sad but beautiful. Amazing at how you’ve come through this grief. I got a couple of fish and the funny part is I did think about who was gonna eat it. Not quite fighting over it but I’m gonna get one of them for Dave. Proud of you and Sierra. Love you both and Happy Thanksgiving.

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