She blurted out the words “I hate Thanksgiving!” Her cousins (my children) readily agreed, and I understood immediately why they abhor such feelings about a day that celebrates gratefulness. My response to those honest heartfelt words “No, I don’t hate Thanksgiving, but I don’t feel like celebrating the day.” My response did not sway these young adults enough to retract or modify those words, and that is okay with me…for now.
If I were to conduct a family poll, I am certain that the results of responses would be overwhelmingly “I hate Thanksgiving.” Why? Thanksgiving is a reminder of the ache that is still in our hearts, it is a reminder of the absence of one who meant so much to so many, it is a reminder that death sometimes causes chaos that takes time to restore calm.
Thanksgiving is such a painful reminder of my mother’s death, the death of a loving grandmother, and great-grandmother, who died four years ago, days before the great celebration. November 21, 2013 changed our attitude about the Thanksgiving holiday, because it was the day when mom, in the words of my sister “went to sing with the angels.”
We didn’t celebrate family Thanksgiving that year, and we still don’t (at least on a grand scale and in mom’s tradition) at this time. I say “at this time” because I am praying our family through this still difficult love/hate relationship with Thanksgiving.
Mom or “grandma” as the younger ones called her, was the glue that held the family together, she was the “boss,” the “CEO,” the best cook, the best friend/confidant. She was the one who loved unconditionally, the one who was brave enough to hug and dispense discipline at the same time. Mom taught everyone who wanted to learn how to cook. No, she insisted that every son, daughter, granddaughter, or grandson learn how to cook. For those guys who balked she would ask “What if you get married to a girl who does not know how to cook?” They would readily learn the cooking skills mom dispensed because they (we) all loved to eat. Who wouldn’t love to eat the food cooked by the world’s best chef? Not us, we loved to eat grandma’s food and looked forward to the times of our family feasts.
Mom did not drive, nope, she tried taking driving lessons, but never learned. She was content with our dad driving her, and then later her children and grandchildren. Despite the lack of a driver’s license, she managed to go where ever she wanted to go…the Farmers Market was one of those places. Before each big feast (not just relegated to national holidays), we would drive her to the Farmers Market to buy her supplies…curry, jerk seasoning, onions, leeks, spices, callaloo, chicken, oxtails, mutton, shrimp, and lots of fish…nope, can’t forget the fish.
None of us enjoyed executing mom’s specific instructions about cleaning chicken, fish, shrimp or any other meat that was destined to be on her menu. The skin had to be cut off the chicken, and all the red, squiggly vein “thingys” had to be removed. Yuck! The shrimp had to be shelled and deveined (double yuck), the fish had to be gutted and scaled AGAIN,(can’t trust the butcher or fish guys to do a good job…she said).
Despite our objections to the above, we miss all of that, and there is not one person in our family who does not clean chicken or re-scale fish, and de-vein shrimp prior to cooking now in their own kitchens. She taught us well. As a matter of fact, during our late night conversation yesterday, my niece and children shared how they hated going to the Farmers Market then, but now they enjoy the visits and realize that it is a must for healthy living.
We miss this kind, hospitable, loving lady so much, and we are reminded about her death every single day but it hurts much more as we approach Thanksgiving. We will never forget her love and her lessons. Last night as we, (my #1 daughter, #1 son, and niecypoo) talked for hours with our feet on the coffee table (a no 👎 in mom’s book), we laughed, shared and appreciated the family time together. Her legacy lives on in us and while we may “hate Thanksgiving,” we still have love for each other.
Let’s Talk About – “I Hate Thanksgiving!” The reality is we do not hate the idea of gratitude or giving thanks. We hate the feeling of sadness that accompanies death and lingers after death. What about you? Peace!