Two weeks ago, a young boy just 4 years old died of pneumonia. He was an extended family member to a couple of families who are friends of ours. As they described the young boy’s suffering, unexpectedly it took me back to that evening nearly seven years ago when I lost my wife.
I was rather shocked at how clearly and detailed I could remember that evening of loss. I thought because it had been seven years ago, that things like this young boy’s passing, though very sad, wouldn’t instantly put me right back at the bedside of my suffering wife and the children who so desperately wanted her to remain with us. It was as if I was reliving the whole experience once more. I tried to remain silent as my friend described the scene of their loss.
Fortunately, enough time had passed and I had learned to deal with the loss well enough that the melancholy that had overshadowed me did not last. Still, I was affected. It occurs to me that we are never really over a loss like that, but we do learn to deal with it.
The evening they shared their experience, I went home and listened to Christmas music and wrote a few letters. The next day I spoke briefly about it with my wife, who has also lost a husband to cancer. She understood my feelings about what had happened.
I wasn’t about to tell my friends that I knew what they were going through, because I don’t. Just like they have no idea about the experiences I had when I suffered my loss. All I could do was to silently listen and offer my support afterward. I remember the many who had lost significant people in their lives doing the same for me. Until we go through such an experience, it is easy to assume that we can imagine what it would feel like to suffer that kind of loss. From experience, there is no way. Not only is every situation different, but each person is different. We all handle things differently also.
For those of us who have lost, who are brought back to those memories through the experiences of others, all I can say is, take a breath and do what we can to remember the good things. Then, like we do each day, press on the best we can while trying to find the good around us. Each day is ours to make our lives better.
I am glad that I have such a good support system in place. I lean heavily upon my wife. We have learned to comfort and support each other during these times of remembrances. I hope you have loved ones close for you also. Friends and family can ease those moments of pain. I also work to use this season of celebration to remember the special times and I also work to cheer others. That also seems to help me.
Until next time.
I don’t normally do this with this blog, but I thought I would share a bit of humor with you this time. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.Hi, my name’s RD, and I’ve got all the advice you’re ever going to need about The Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner!
Holy cow! What a day it’s been around here today. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Thanksgiving like this one. A few years ago I tried to make turkey dinner for the family, but it turned out that the food was spoiled, and couldn’t be eaten. Well, there is a famous saying that goes, if you fall off a horse, you should tranquilize it and it won’t buck you off again. So I thought I would give it another chance. I wasn’t going to, because of the curing I had to get last time, but when the Mrs. took sick, and I found out the mother-in-law was having to come to care for her, I couldn’t ask the older woman to see to our dinner.
As soon as Dorothy and Henry got there, I could see that he had been half starved to death. He was also asking to see my workshop. How could I refuse? I gave him the grand tour of the place. I could see that he was truly impressed. He kept raising his eyebrows. He even coughed when I showed him my fishing supplies. He kept looking at the four cases of dynamite, and I was suddenly embarrassed that I had so little left. After our tour, I heard the Mrs. say that she couldn’t possibly eat. She said that nothing sounded good to her.
Well I knew my duty, and I knew what would put that kind of talk silent. I knew we would all be especially hungry. After all, it was Thanksgiving. I knew the Mrs. would be starved anyway. She hadn’t eaten for two days. So Henry and I went out shopping. We got half dozen turkeys, some cases of dressing, and cases of gravy and a pickup load of potatoes, and we put the son and the grand kids to work peeling potatoes. Henry and I began mixing stuff. I let him do most of that, it made him happy. In the meantime, I got the old bathtub propped up over a good blazing fire over the grease pit, and began to pour the water and potatoes into it.
Before long, the whole neighborhood was smothered in the smell of food cooking. The neighbor thought we had a swimming pool, and brought his hose with the water running. I had to disappoint him on that matter. It was Thanksgiving, so we invited him and his family, along with the neighbors on the other side of us, who were yelling, hoping not to be left out. Before long, I was starting to wonder if we had gotten enough food. Several other neighbors had come over, along with the fire department, and a few police officers. (They must not get a lot of dinner offers, and I hated to see them go hungry, on Thanksgiving of all days.)
Well, we were doing just fine, until the bottom of the bathtub melted out, and doused the fire with water from the potatoes. I never knew that fire could float before, but it does. I know because I saw it. It floated over to the neighbor’s house, and to the fire engine, and to the four police cars too. It floated down the street, to the apple orchard, and down to the pumpkin patch. Everyone started to scatter quickly. I think they were all worried about missing out on the baked apples down the street. By the time the food was done, everyone was back. We dug out a few boards and bricks, and made five or six picnic tables, and everyone settled down and ate, as they watched the floating fire continue to burn. Even the Mrs. came out to eat and watch. She didn’t act like she was hungry, but she was eating anyway.
The whole thing was nearly perfect, dinner, a show, and lots of friends, and guests to share it with, but I had no idea just how much better it could be. Someone from over the back fence got bored. They climbed over the fence, and began to scream at the fire, and squirted it with the neighbor’s hose, and the fire began to float back into the back of the shop. Well, when it hit the fishing tackle, boy oh boy, things began to pop then.
When the dynamite went up it was spectacular. Suddenly the back of the shop was on the roof of the neighbor’s house, and the sparks and flame gave us all a really good show. It made me feel good when the neighbor remarked that it was the most spectacular thing he had ever lived through. He claimed that living next to me and being able to say that he had lived through it, was saying a lot. My head was so swollen from all that praise that I could barely contain myself.
The fire chief agreed and added that in his thirty years of fire fighting, he had never seen anything quite like it. He was amazed that there had only been three homes, and seven cars destroyed in the blaze, and could hardly wait to get the other engine there. I wasn’t certain how that would make any difference to the food, or the light show, but I wasn’t going to argue with a man who had such glowing opinions of me.
My other next door neighbor said he would never forget that thanksgiving for the rest of his life. He claimed to have the whole thing on video. Even I was amazed at how good it was as I watched it play out over the internet. It brought a tear to my eye, when the son said, “Something like this could only be done by my dad.”
It only took a couple of bulldozers and a few dump trucks about four hours to clean up what was left. Dorothy seemed to be the only one who didn’t enjoy every moment of it. She told Henry that he should have done something. When I tried to explain that he had helped me immensely. He kept telling everyone that he hadn’t done a thing. He is always so polite, and humble.
When it was all done, the police officer told me that I had really outdone myself that time, and gave me a set of bracelets to wear for a while, along with a ride down town. He let me pay for all the fun I had had and he was going to send me to some camp, where I could pass on all my knowledge. When I mentioned that I could teach them that much and a great deal more, they thought the boys there probably knew enough already, and didn’t want them to know anymore. So they sent me back home. I thought that it was too bad that I wouldn’t be sharing my vast knowledge, but then, I hadn’t had any baked apples yet, and I figured the pumpkins should have been done by then too. Yes, what a day?
So take my advice, really go all out for Thanksgiving this year. Invite the neighborhood, invite all your public servants, in fact you might as well invite the whole town. As soon as they see your neighbors house flaming up in celebration, they’ll be over anyway. You should just invite them, and they won’t have to wait for an excuse. What a perfect day.
© Copyright 2007 by Jene Beal
All Rights Reserved