Its only one day. It comes the same day on the calendar every year. The third Thursday of November.
Even so have you noticed the pressure surrounding Thanksgiving? Turkey’s purchased along with ingredients for side dishes, carpets shampooed for the upcoming day, well the upcoming meal really. People shampoo their carpets, scrub their houses because guests are coming. They over spend on their grocery list, they plan and replan and stress and worry about one meal! They find and try recipes for dishes they’ve never cooked before and won’t cook again. People may even bring out their finest flatware and china for this one meal. So much work for a meal. One meal. Its not even the last supper but society wants us to collectively behave as though it is. For some perhaps it is their last meal, for others perhaps its their first meal in days.
The television and radio assaults us too. The message is clear if you have no where to go, no near and dear friends and family to spend the day with…eat this special meal with………. then you are a loser.
The holidays, how depressing for so many.
But I survived Thanksgiving this year by doing nothing. I did not cook a turkey, no big meal for lots of people. I went no where due to having no invitations to go… nor anywhere to go. But I survived it!
The only stress related to Thanksgiving for me was the absence of my husband. It was the third Thanksgiving since his death. Stress might not even be an accurate word, heartbreak, lonliness, sadness, loss–those words sum it all up more descriptively and honestly.
And it came and went like the other Thanksgivings……come barreling onto my calendar like a locomotive and leaving slowly….seeping. The day was long for certain. I watched the clock all day. Waiting for the day to stretch from dawn to dusk and beyond. Waited for the day to end finally so I could stop being so accutely aware of the absence of my husband, my family and maybe even the absence of my former life when those people were in it. When its midnight I don’t have to feel like a loser anymore. I don’t have a lot of pots and pans to clean, no leftovers to wrap up and try to stuff back into the refridgerator. No overly full stomach to complain about. No loud mouth relatives to deal with. I don’t even have the emotional let down that comes for so many on Thanksgiving.
The dream of a Norman Rockwell painting type of family gathering didn’t form in my mind. I knew that wasn’t going to happen. No hopes of reconcillation with a family member but no dread of any bickering either. My wallet didn’t suffer from over purchases of food that is not going to be eaten. My carpets do not have stains from obnoxious druken Uncle Albert who spilled his wine over and over. The dog didn’t get sick for stealing scraps. I didn’t go deaf from the TV blasting a show that no one is watching but are trying to shout over. I didn’t even get annoyed with anyone.
I am not a loser because I had no family or friends to be with and try to mimic the commercials we all see showing us how the Thanksgiving meal is supposed to look like. I am not pathetic because I didn’t cook a turkey. I am not a loser because I dreaded the day and breathed a sigh of relief when it was over. I am not a pathetic loser because I am a widow… with two adult children…a widow who spent a “family” day…..alone.
Yup. I survived it! Thank God it is only one day. Now? To get through Christmas…………..