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Getting to know you ....November 14


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I don't have to look too far back.

Last year, Mom had just been diagnosed, but they got the all-clear from the doctor to drive out to WA and visit us for T-giving. I got to show them around town, show them our apartment, and take them to a really pretty scenic bridge.

I also got my last really wonderful Christmas present from Mama then (we did it then so I could help shop)--she bought us a gliding rocker so I would have a place to rock with Carolyn (whom she was still calling 'Baby Ethel' since I wouldn't share the name with anyone).

It was my last holiday with Mom since I stayed in WA for Christmas. And it was really VERY special.

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The day before Thanksgiving 4 years ago my dx had been confirmed, my tx planned and I was discharged from hospital to go home and get it all together. A friend brought us dinner but a joyful event it was not.

A year later my daughter came to our house and cooked the dinner with me, when we sat down to eat I had something to say before we started anything...... "Thanks for looking after me so well during the last year and thanks for always going at my speed" (slow was not on either of their meters). Needless to say dinner was delayed while we all dried our eyes, but then we had a wonderful time......I'd made it this far!

Two very memorable Thanksgivings.


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I remember the family sharing stories THanksgiving dinner of 1991 about what a Daddy's girl I always was and how I would cry my heart out every morning when my dad left for work when I was a toddler.

Afterwards, my dad stood on the front porch, in his blue jeans and "dress" flannel shirt, waving to us as we pulled away.

That was the last time that I saw my dad, he died suddenly of a heart attack a few days later. I always remember that dinner conversation and the stories, and keep it close.

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Thanksgiving 2002 was a day I will never forget. Not that the memories were necessarily happy ones but are definitely ones I will have forever. Dennis was always a wonderful son that absolutely adored his mother. He was always so kind and complimentary of anything she cooked. We always had Thanksgiving dinner at her house and the meal was wonderful. On this particular day, Dennis was so weak we thought we were not going to be able to get him to the car to make the 10 minute trip to his parents house for dinner. His brother had flown in from Dallas and all the family was gathered for what appeared to be our last gathering, as Dennis was failing so rapidly. Although everyone tried to "pretend" that things were as normal, everyone was broken hearted. Usually, Dennis loved Thanksgiving and filled his plate to the brim a couple of times. I knew what trouble I had been having getting him to eat anything at all, so I put just a tiny bit of his favorite things on his plate, hoping he could eat. He ate a total of three bites during that meal. I don't think any of us realized that he would be gone in less than a month. After eating, he wanted to go to the sofa, as he was having a lot of back pain due to the spinal mets. But...he took the effort to tell his mother how very good dinner was! At this point, there wasn't a dry eye in the room. I will never forget that meal. I pray that my children will always be the wonderful sons to me that their father was to their grandmother.

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My best Thanksgiving was 2002, it turned out my 40th birthday fell on Thanksgiving that year. Well I have always been one who LOVES their birthday and my 40th was going to be a big party. The best part though was that my whole family was together for the 1st time since I was 17. My parents divorced before my 18th birthday so they were never together for the holidays, well they made the exception for my 40th birthday and we all sat down to a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. My Mom, Stepdad, Dad Brother, sister and my Aunt Joan came out from New Jersey, she is my God Mother and we are very very close. Everyone was healthy and happy. :D:D


Husband Alan DX small cell lung cancer Jan 10th 2005

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wonder why we remember the bittersweet things so much sometimes.

Mine was in 1986. My mom had just passed away very recently and my sister and I took the reins that year. My 2 brothers, my sister, our families all gathered at my mom and dads each year for Thanksgiving. That thanksgiving was the first holiday without my mom. My sister and I cooked and we used the same dishes, the same recipes, the same everything but it was so terribly, terribly painful. To top it all off I was pregnant with my first child and due in February. We smiled, laughed and ate but nothing felt right and my Dad was more than sad. My mom was the light of my dad's life and you could tell that he was struggling. Finally at the end of the meal my dad broke down (the strongest most spiritual person I have ever know) and cried at the table. He told all of us that he was diagnosed with melanomia (skin cancer)and needed surgery the next day. He was struggling with his fears and also with the incredible saddness of missing my mom. He asked all of us to pray together for strength to get through the day, for his health to return and he cried out to God and begged him to please, please send us a gift so that we would be able to endure this first Christmas without my mom. Something that would lighten our hearts and remind us of her. It was the most profound and sincere prayer I have ever heard.

Well the Lord does answer prayers and sometimes he uses people in ways we never dreamed. Wouldn't you know it a week later I went into premature labor about 9 weeks early and delievered a beautiful, black haired baby girl. A baby girl that wasn't due till February but the Lord knew we needed her now. She weighed 4 lbs 2 oz and was in perfect health however small... She came home from the hospital just in time for Christmas and then of course we needed to get presents and clothes, set up the furniture... so much to do. My daughter was named Merry (my mom's name was Mary) Noel (which means Christmas) so basically, Merry Christmas. It's amazing how a tearful Thanksgiving Day prayer could become such a wonderful Christmas gift.

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I too have 2 Thanksgivings that will always stand out in my mind.

The first was 1991. My youngest son had been in the army for 3 years and had spent 7 months in Iraq during the first Gulf war. The army offered those who had been deployed a chance to get out early if they had a job waiting. So my son was home for Thanksgiving and the relief I felt after 3 years of fear and dread was tremendous. We had a lot to be thankful for.

The other was 2002. Johnny had been having problems with anxiety for over 2 months by then. I had made him an appointment with Cancer Treatment Center in Seattle. The change in him was immediate once he had hope again. He was in the nursing home that day and was supposed to go home the next day. We had dinner together in his room. Misty was with us. After dinner we left for a while and rode to his son's house. He was just in the best mood and for once there was no sign of the anxiety that had plagued him for months.

Later that evening he surprised and frightened me when he stood up and walked out into the hall to look for the nurse. He wanted to ask if she could get something for me to sleep in so I could spend the night with him. He hadn't been walking at all the 8 days sense he had gone into the hospital and very little at home before that. He was so strong and so sure and told me not to worry because he felt better and stronger than he had in months.

That was the only real holiday that we ever got to share. That too is a bittersweet memory. That morning for some reason they had decided to give him Morphine in his nebulizer. Within two hours he was hoarse and coughing. It worried me but at the time he insisted that he felt so well that I never dreamed that in less than 4 days he would be gone and I would be alone and heartbroken.

Now I spend Thanksgiving alone and far away from my family. I ache for one that will hold good memories again but for now I hold on to those two.

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