5 Thanksgivings ago, Pam died.
She died on the Friday after Thanksgiving, in the evening. I got the news about 10:00 PM.
The year she died, we lived in Red State. Hubby and I had spent a fun day hanging out, eating leftovers and watching the Nebraska vs. Colorado game on TV. We had a bet... if Colorado won, hubby got a large stuffed buffalo.
One of the last normal things I remember doing was ordering that buffalo off of the internet. I went to the University of Colorado bookstore's website and paid about $50.00 for a big stuffed animal. Every time I look at "Ralphie", I think about the day my sister died.
Everything after that was non-normal. I was 33 when she died -- and her death is the dividing line between 'then' and 'now'.
5 Thanksgivings ago, about this time in the morning on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, hubby and I started our trek home.
I remember driving in our red Ford. Crossing bleak, flat states and empty farm fields. The Midwest in the winter without snow is pretty bleak. I felt very bleak -- and the world was brown and grey. There was nothing outside to distract me from the grief.
That trip was the beginning of the time that I learned that human tears are endless. You could literally cry forever, without stopping. I wondered if I'd ever stop. I wondered if I'd ever be normal again. I worried about the future, I was now my mom's only child. I worried about the pressure of caring for her in her old age. It made me mad that everyone in my family had at least one living sibling and now I didn't.
That day we got as far as my in-laws in the Twin Cities. I remember eating their leftover Turkey and dressing and getting lots of hugs from both my mother in law and her wonderful husband. I remember sitting on their beautiful leather couch and sliding off of it (it seems by behind isn't ment to sit on beautiful leather couches).
The next day, the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, I finally made it to Mom's house.
Mom wasn't there when we arrived. Pam's husband M, his mother C and siblings B and J were there -- as were a bunch of her friends. B and J had to bring M's car keys up -- since Pam was the last one to have them and they couldn't find them in her things... Thank goodness C had her car up there as well. C and J had been cooking and cleaning, so I walked into a home that smelled good and in to people who loved Pam. I couldn't have been anyplace else at that moment.
A few hours after we got there, Mom finally arrived from southern Missouri. I've never been hugged so hard in all my life. Mom was crying and saying things like, 'I was sure you'd be in a car accident on the way up here'.
That day I realized that the universe isn't predictable. That it is very possible for people you love most exist one day and not the next. They can just die without you having the chance to say goodbye. For this reason I NEVER part from hubby without saying "I love you". I end every conversation with him with "I love you". This is because I never want my last words to him to be anything except "I love you".