It's hard to remember too many specifics from Thanksgivings of my past. Thanksgiving isn't usually a day that stands out in memory---the best Thanksgiving seems like the ones before it, in a good way. However, I don't think I'll ever forget Thanksgiving 2014---waking up without Janey here, driving to visit her, coming home without her. I also won't forget it because of how grateful and thankful I feel.
Freddy went to see his last Thanksgiving Day football game as a Boston Latin student, and we had a non-eventful morning---no kids TV, no Janey asking for bacon, no monitoring her movements and anticipating her moods. I am trying hard to accept the respite and to let myself enjoy it, knowing she is safe and cared for, and for brief periods of time, I am succeeding. But it's been so long that our life has had her as a focus, everything feels a little empty.
We had a Thanksgiving meal for 4 around 1. We are not big eaters of traditional Thanksgiving Day fare---we had a roasted chicken, but with purchased turkey gravy, and some strawberry shortcake. We said what we were all thankful for, but didn't have Janey to coax to say something.
After we ate, we drove to Providence to see Janey. Every time we get to the hospital, I feel a knot in my stomach. It's not because it's not a nice place, because it is. I think it's just the feeling of going to see my child at a psychiatric hospital. It feels like I have somehow stepped outside of the world I know, and entered a different world.
Janey was very happy to see us, all four of us. She hasn't seen William for a long time, since he was at college. She gave us a huge smile, and we went to her room. We had brought her lots of food for her special meal, and she ate a huge amount of Daddy's pesto, some purple onions and lots of chocolate chip cookies. We sang to her, and played catch with her Care Bear. She talked very little today, but seemed very pleased we were there, at first. Eventually she got tired of being in the room and eager for more action, and when we asked her if she wanted us to say goodbye, she repeated emphatically "GOODBYE!"
We took her out to the staff people, who said they would take her to join her group in the occupational therapy room. Janey had gotten a bit agitated by then. She kept grabbing our hands and saying "Take a walk!" We explained we couldn't, but her friends there would take her for a walk. She started yelling "Goodbye! Goodbye" but trying to go with us. The staff distracted her, and we said a final goodbye and left. My heart was a bit torn up.
And now---Thanksgiving night. I am going to try to rest and not worry.
It has been a strange Thanksgiving, but it has also been a very good one, in that I know more than ever how much I have to be thankful for. I have my family---my husband, who has been incredible through all of this, my wonderful boys and my Janey---my girl who has my heart, and both warms it and breaks it so easily. And I have my friends---and I count all of you reading this as my friends. You have been INCREDIBLE. Your support, here and on my Facebook page, is what has kept me going many a long day. You have made me feel like sharing my story has helped YOU, when it is YOU who has helped me. My dear friend Jamie has reached out to get help for me with bills and expenses---something I never, ever expected but I am very, very grateful for. I have talked to many of you, in person, by phone or by email or Facebook message, and you have supported me so hugely. So many people I've never met in person have shown their caring for my family and me. I know more than ever that there are so, so many good and caring people in this world, and I am very thankful for that.
I wonder what Thanksgiving 2015 will look like. I hope Janey is happier, calmer and most of all we are all together, that Thanksgiving and every Thanksgiving from here on for the rest of my life.