Somehow made it through Thanksgiving. It was not easy. Ever since my grandpa died when I was younger, the holidays have always taken an emotional toll on me. It’s always hurt that I didn’t have my grandpa here with me anymore. I’ve always wished that I had one of those big families that you always see on TV, where there’s dozens of people coming into town to celebrate. I’ve always been so jealous of people with big families.
My paternal grandma spent most of the holidays in Florida. When I was really young, she wouldn’t leave for Florida until after Christmas, but as the years went on, she started heading down there earlier and earlier, usually as soon as the weather started to get cold. So that left holidays being just myself, my parents and brother, and my maternal grandparents. I was always okay with that – my grandpa was my best friend, and as long as he was there, I was happy. When he passed away, my family more or less stopped celebrating holidays. We would visit my maternal grandma in her assisted living home, spending the majority of each holiday there. Same with my paternal grandma, who only stayed in Rochester for the holidays once she was physically unable to travel due to her declining health. After being in and out of the hospital for months with various health issues, it was Christmas Day that the doctors told us she was unable to return home, and that we needed to look into nursing homes for her.
After both grandmas had also passed away, Thanksgiving and Christmas were spent at Chinese buffets…just my parents, brother and me. I would always smuggle some turkey out for Oreo, and when we were pulling in the driveway we could see him jumping around the window, anxiously awaiting his holiday meal. After that, we would always go for a long walk with my dad. Oreo always seemed to enjoy that – most nights, he would force my dad and I to take him on separate walks, but seeing him prance down the street when the both of us were with him was priceless.
I wasn’t expecting this Thanksgiving to hit me as hard as it did. I spent it home by myself with my cats, as my parents can’t leave their new dog alone without her destroying things. Their house isn’t suitable for people to come over for big dinners (and no one in my family really knows how to cook anyway), and they didn’t want to come over here. I think I would have been completely OK with the way it played out if Oreo was still here. It’s almost been 6 months since I lost him. Half of a whole year. It still seems so raw. Most mornings when I wake up, for that first split second, I still reach over to scratch his ears.
Sometimes I can’t believe that I survived losing him. Part of me had always thought that I truly would die of a broken heart when he was gone. He was my entire heart and soul, my first child. I love my kitties so much, but they can’t compete to the complete devotion I felt towards Oreo. He was my child and I was his mommy, and I was determined to do anything and everything I could to make sure he lived a long, happy and healthy life. Despite all of that, he did not live nearly long enough (10 short years), and was plagued by a variety of health issues.
I hope he enjoyed his first Thanksgiving in Heaven.
I hope someone remembered to smuggle him a piece of turkey.