Thursday, November 22, 2012

Really? Thanksgiving?

Dear John,
This is just a bunch of things I thought about on my first Thanksgiving without you. And without you in two ways: you aren't here, and I can't even blog to you. Not being able to write here makes me feel so cut off from you. It's not particularly logical but it's real.
I got up early, packed, and left for Springfield, feeling sad and miserable. It was good I had the trip to make, otherwise I'd have spent the weekend on the sofa, curled up in a fetal position and eating brownies. I thought putting the Akathist of Thanksgiving on the CD player would make me feel better, but it didn't work this time. After half an hour I was feeling worse. So I put Muddy Waters on, rolled the windows down, and felt better.

Do you remember our second Thanksgiving? We were both working so we couldn't go anywhere, and we knew other people in the same position. So we had a Widows & Orphans Thanksgiving Dinner - we each invited everybody we knew that was going to spend Thanksgiving Day alone. And we ended up with a fascinating mix of people - Babette, Dave, some neighbors - a good (and cross-cultural) time was had by all. It was a lot of fun.
Thanksgiving Day with your family was as it has always been - curry and rice, applesauce and red-hot salad, dessert, munchies for later, and plenty of football. I told them that I have some friends that are a bit shocked by me spending the holiday with your family, and it turns out that they are getting some similar reactions. We decided that we like each other and don't care if other people think it's inappropriate. How is it inappropriate to spend the day with people you love and care about, no matter what legal relationships you do or don't have? I must be missing something, but that's not unusual.

So it's bedtime. Above all else on earth, I'm grateful for you. I'm grateful that we're both Orthodox, that you had an Orthodox funeral and burial, that I can pray for you and ask you to pray for me. I'm grateful for our promised reunion. I'm grateful that there is nothing stronger than love. And at bottom, I'm grateful for your death - that you aren't suffering any more, that nothing else will break and surprise us, that you're healed, whole, and happy. I'm grateful not just for the fact of your death, but also for the manner of it. "Painless, blameless, peaceful, and a good defence before the fearful Judgment Seat of Christ" - that's what we all pray for.

Being grateful for an end to your suffering doesn't bring an end to mine, but it does ease it a bit. If you can arrange it so that this will be my last holiday season without you, that would be a really nice birthday gift. The season is a struggle without you.

Giving thanks anyway,

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