God knows I’d been dreading Thanksgiving Day and the weekend typically known for family and shopping. For at least half of the almost 31 years that Tim and I were married we hosted the huge Veney family in our home for Thanksgiving dinner. It was always busy, loud, comical and most of the time it was fun. This year, after handing off the Thanksgiving dishes I purchased years ago to Tim’s niece Ralphaella, I decided to have my first Thanksgiving dinner after Tim’s death alone. I had many invitations, and not everyone was thrilled with my decision to spend the day alone, BUT they supported it.
On Wednesday night my stomach was really queasy…Did I really want to be alone on Thursday? To calm my nerves one of the projects in my plan for the weekend was a new LEGO build which I hadn’t done much at all since Tim’s death. My boss had given me a card which mentioned what was behind the gates of heaven, so I built what I believed Tim’s place in heaven would look like. I loved the end result, because I’d wanted to do a setting that included pieces of furniture for a long time! What better place than Heaven?
After finishing the LEGO project late morning on Thursday, next up on my plan was to remove the plants I received after Tim’s death from their baskets and re-pot them into cute orange pots. This was risky!!! I kill everything that grows, but in honor of Tim, I wanted these plants to LIVE! I had purchased potting soil and gloves and I anxiously got to work. I felt like I was handling Tim’s life and didn’t want to screw it up. I gingerly placed the soil, then the plant into each pot and ensured that I covered the roots with the soil. Funny that at my age, I’ve never re-potted anything. After I placed the newly potted plants in front of the bay window, I felt as if new life that included Tim was growing. My tears as I stood in front of the window where Tim always sat for hours were cleansing and I suddenly see all the plants in a new light.
Next up on my plan of action was visiting Mom. I had downloaded some Thanksgiving coloring pages and I was excited to see whether or not she’d like to color like we did together when I was a kid. She loved it!! So much so that she worked constantly on her page for an hour. I was very surprised at how she carefully stayed inside the lines and though she only finished a portion of the page, she was pleased with her work and so was I. After a few hours hanging out with Mom, it was time to head home for my dinner alone.
My dinner of baked chicken, spinach with mushrooms and onions and a baked sweet potato was awesome! I loved my plating too, and of course I shed some tears thinking of all the meals Tim and I prepared together in our kitchen. I could hear him reminding me that I’d forgotten the wine, so I quickly poured a glass of Riesling and then toasted Tim, thanking him for all of the years of great fun we’d had in that kitchen. By the end of the dinner, I was smiling more than crying.
On Friday, after working for a few hours, I took Memory Maker II to the dealership to get it winterized, which prevents the water systems in the RV from freezing during the winter. This was another task that had always been handled by Tim that was now my responsibility. I had ordered a cover for MMII to protect it from the elements and asked one of my neighbors to help me put it on this weekend. We decided to tackle the task on Saturday afternoon. It took us less than 40 minutes to complete, and I am thrilled that MMII will be protected from the elements all winter!
The most soul-shaking event of the weekend occurred Saturday morning. The bed Tim and I shared is a split-king Sleep Number Bed. I hadn’t touched Tim’s side of the bed since June 30th when we left home for Herkimer, NY. I had only changed the sheets on my side of the bed. I was finally ready to take the sheets off of his side to wash them. I noticed right away that the sheets no longer smelled like Tim and that made me cry. I then saw something sticking up from Tim’s side of the bed. When I lifted it up, it was Tim’s favorite pair of Redskins shorts that we had torn the house up looking for before we headed to NY. They were his favorite workout shorts and he didn’t want to leave home without them. I started to yell out, “I found them!”, but of course Tim isn’t here to hear me. I cried more.
Most shocking was that the shorts still smelled like Tim. I clutched the shorts and didn’t want to let them go. I fell on my knees and I cried even more. Then I got up…. I put the shorts down so I could put the sheets and pillowcase in the washer. I waited so long to wash them because I didn’t want to feel like I was washing Tim out of my life. Thankfully, I didn’t feel that. I watched the sheets go round and round first in the washer, then in the dryer. Then I folded them up and put them away, selecting another set of sheets and comforter for the bed. It took me more than 4 months to find the strength to wash Tim’s sheets, and I’m glad I did it on Thanksgiving weekend.
The Redskins shorts will have to wait for another day to be washed. Finding the shorts wasn’t included in this weekend’s plan and I have already expended all of the emotional energy I had. I’m thankful for the ups, downs, tears and smiles of the last few days, but I’m blown away by the unexpected gift I received in finding Tim’s workout shorts. When a loved one dies I think we all look for a special sign from them. Tim sent me the biggest sign of all – his favorite shorts of his favorite team. It doesn’t get any better than that and I’m Thankful! I hope you had a Happy Heavenly Thanksgiving Tim, mine was pretty great because it was in our Happy Home! Love you and miss you!