Thanksgiving was surprisingly good this year. Since grandma died in March, I wasn’t sure how we would handle the holidays. Grandma loved the holidays so much, and always wanted the family to be together for everything. Everything called for celebration and family lunch in her book. That’s why we ordered 20 cakes every year and had 20 family lunches every year. I’m serious, we celebrated every holiday as a family and every birthday as a family. So we’ve done most of the birthdays this year without her which as been hard, but this time is the worst since it was her favorite. Thanksgiving/Christmas and Easter, her 2 favorite. We always did extra special stuff for this time of year.
Initially we were going to go to Cracker Barrel and just call it a day, but mom decided that for her sake we were going to do Thanksgiving as usually. Let me go ahead and say that I did NOT want to do this. I was completely content skipping the holidays all together and staying at school by myself. Obviously, mother had a problem with that. So Wednesday night we cooked Turkey, Chicken, made chicken salad, and dressing at my house. My kitchen has never been used that much in the 19 years we’ve been there. So the day came and went. We ate lunch at grandpas house and didn’t put up the tree (he didn’t want one). We’ve made it through Thanksgiving, now to make it through Christmas. What got me through this week? Let me tell you a story:
Probably 8 years ago my grandma wanted martin houses but in the yard. So grandpa put 3 in the yard, and for years every day grandma would sit in her chair in the kitchen and look at the martins. She loved those little birds. The houses are full, and there are no bugs in their yard (which is nice), and there’s always the sounds of chirping in their yard. It’s so nice. Every winter, obviously, the martins leave and come back in the spring. When I was at the house on Thursday, I noticed there was one bird left. Mom told me it hasn’t left the house period all year. Grandpa gets up every morning and looks for that bird. While other birds will leave for a few hours, and come back with food. This one stays, it peeks its head out but never leaves the house. It’s winter, and the bird is still there. When I think of that bird I cry.
I am not one to believe that animals carry the spirits of our loved ones who have died, but I do think God has given my grandpa that bird. I think we all need something to hold on to when someone so dear to us leaves. For my grandpa, I think its that bird. He watches it all the time, and I think it gives him comfort because he knows how much grandma loved those birds. For me, it’s my high school class ring. When I got my ring, I wanted my grandma to write my full because she always had the most beautiful cursive writing. It was one of the last things she wrote before her arthritis in her hands got so bad.
When mom was telling me about this martin and I was looking at it, I could help but think of the bible verse at the top. When grandma died I was so worried about my grandpa and what would happen to him. I was convinced he wouldn’t make it much past her death, and I couldn’t (and still can’t) bear the thought of losing him. Like any good Irish family, we are very matriarchal and she was obviously the matriarch of our little clan. When she had her stroke and we knew there was no recovering, I sat in the hospital night after night, for 14 days (literally, I didn’t leave) unable to sleep, wondering how my family would make it. She had done so much for us, and here she was dying and there was nothing I could do for her, after all she had done for me.
I hadn’t really sat down and given it thought until that bird. These past 8 months God has been looking out for us. Once again, he has taken something I cannot fathom and can’t understand, and has taken care of my family. He has taken care of the martin at my grandpas house, so why would he not take care of those who He created in His image? We are His craftsmanship, and the martin at my grandpas is just a bird. Why should I worry? God has a plan for my family, and even though the holidays are so hard, He has a plan to get us through it. He had a plan to get us through my grandma’s death, and He has a plan to get us through the upcoming weeks, as a family.
Just some food for thought.
Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Any grand epiphanies you want to share?