Saturday, November 20, 2010

A special guest

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a difficult season for us. 

It was our last holiday with Austin, as he passed away just two days after, in 2008.  This holiday reminds of our great loss, and as the anniversary is so soon after, it forces painful memories of that tragic day as well.  We get through these times because we're surrounded with family who love and support us.

The past few years I began cooking Thanksgiving dinner.  It began because my husband's mom became to ill to tackle the task.  Last year, we decided to combine our families and I prepared one gigantic feast.  My husband's mom and brothers came, as well as my mom, sisters, and all their kids.  It was a large crowd but comforting to have so many family members with us.

This year, we again are planning to invite our families but have included my grandmother and father's side as well.  Grandma hasn't really been able to cook a large meal for a couple of years and so she seemed eager to spend the holiday with us.  My mom's health is also suffering this year and she faces back surgery just a few days later.  It brings me pleasure to give back to them just by making Thanksgiving dinner, even if it means I'll be cooking for two days in preparation!

As I was planning out the menu and shopping list today, I paused to count the invitation list so I would know how much to buy for.  As I'm counting family groups, my heart always feels a tug when I have to now think "3" for us, instead of the four we've been used to for so long.  When I reached the final number, goosebumps scattered across my arms.  It was 23...

23 was Austin's baseball number.  It's been on the back of his jersey since he was old enough to hit off a tee.  23 has always reminded of us Austin, even more now that's he's gone.  He's used the number so many times to send us messages, I believe, just to remind us that's always here with us.  The fact that our family, all added together, equalled 23 was yet another reminder of his love.  While we will all long to have him here... to see his smiling face running to answer the door as each guest hear that big boisterous laugh fill our room...and to feel those amazing bear hugs he was so famous for...this message from above wraps us all with his love and reminds us his presence is always near when we're gathered.

(You can read more of the history of #23 at his memorial blog...  "Austin's legacy" )


Bonida said...

You can say it all so well Sweetheart. I know he will be there, he loved nothing more than family and family get togethers!!

Tracy said...

Heather, aren't those the most precious gifts? Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts & your life. You are such a beautiful friend.

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