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Thanksgiving 2014 full of good and pain and grief

The last week has been crazy.

The Friday before Thanksgiving, we received a phone call early in the morning from Kristin’s parents and discovered that her Mom’s best friend since they were kids and pseudo-Aunt to Kristin died unexpectedly in her sleep at the young age of 59. Arlene was a bright shining fun person whom I’d known for over 10 years and who was always fun to hang out with. We’d even been on vacation with her and her entire family. The news was tragic, shocking, and the beginning of a very hectic holiday week.

Kristin flew to New York on Sunday where she would meet her sister before driving up to Connecticut to attend the wake, the funeral, and deliver the eulogy for Arlene.

So Sunday, after Kristin flew off, I went into dad mode and watched both Jackson and Darcy for the rest of the day. At 3:30am Monday morning, Darcy woke up. I brought her into bed with Jackson and myself and we all got back to sleep for roughly an hour before waking at about 5:15. We then had breakfast, got dressed, packed up the mom van and me and the two kids braved the 10 hour drive cross country to Jackson, Mississippi where we were going to spend Thanksgiving with my mother. This was the first holiday since my father passed, so the recent loss of Arlene, combined with the absence of my father throughout the week weighed heavily on me and cast a bit of a shadow over everything.

I do not recommend travelling cross country with a 10 month old and a 4 and a half year old when you are the only adult. It is tiring. It is nerve wracking. And if you have any sort of back pain related issues, like I’ve had in the past, that pain tends to flare up after such a trip.

When we arrived it was instantly good to see my mother, but it was also quickly time to do all unpacking I had to do to then do all the things that one has to do with a 10 month old to prep her for bed. She was in bed, and then it became do all the things you have to do to prep a 4 and a half year old for bed. I was exhausted at this point and told my mom that I was just going to go to bed at the same time as my son. I said good night and took him upstairs only to have Darcy wake up with a very croupy sounding cough and strider. Next thing you know, I’m on my way to the ER in Jackson after a full day of driving, and I remained there until 2:30am when they finally discharged us after several nebulizer treatments and some steroids.

The next day, Kristin delivered the eulogy at Arlene’s funeral. Darcy and I woke up around 7:30 and she seemed better, although I was exhausted and we were all waiting for my brother and his family to arrive. They did late in the afternoon, and it was immediately loud and full of life and kids, but also sad, because the last time we had all been together was the week of my father’s funeral and there was an evident absence of both my father and Kristin who was away at another funeral.

Wednesday, Darcy was sounding croupy again, although not as bad as she initially sounded. I took her with me to the airport to pick up Kristin, thinking that we might end up going straight from picking up Kristin to the ER again, but on the way to the airport, Darcy fell asleep and she made no sound while sleeping so she sounded fine. We took her home, Kristin was back with us all, but Darcy woke up and sounded bad again. Later that night, Kristin decided to take her back to the ER. The doctor who saw her when I took her evidently failed to prescribe follow up medicine, and she was having a relapse, so it was good that Kristin went, and frustrating too. They got home around midnight.

The next day was Thanksgiving and it was the oddest one ever. There were no sports on all day long. Just kids shows. There was no dad. It was quiet and about the kids more than anything else. My brother said the Thanksgiving prayer and thanked God for Dad and we all cried. Then we ate and none of us spoke about it.

The next day was more just hanging out, but with the impending knowledge that the next day we would all disperse again.

Yesterday, it took us close to 11 hours to drive back thanks to multiple accidents involving motorcycles.

Last night, I could not lay flat in bed, because all the crazy travel plus holding Darcy in the ER for 4 hours straight Monday night had revived my back pain issues from a year ago.

It was good to see everyone, but such a sad tragic, tiring week. I feel like I need another Thanksgiving.