Thanksgiving is supposed to about family. And food. And laughter and joy and wonderful things.
It’s not supposed to be this.
Thanksgiving is not supposed to be sitting on a cold, hard pew in an empty funeral home. My brothers are sitting beside me, too young to grasp how wrong this all is.
Family. And friends. And rooms full of people remembering together.
The emptiness of the room is suffocating. Just me, my brothers, my mom and my Nana. And two white-haired nuns who are seated on the other side of the aisle in their own pew. Maybe they thought that would make the room look more full. Or perhaps, they just didn’t feel right sitting with complete strangers at a funeral.
It’s not supposed to be empty like this. Not for him.
The night before, the funeral home was overflowing. Lines and lines of faces and names I knew I wouldn’t remember, shaking hands and laughing and crying and telling stories about how wonderful he had been.
But none of them would be here today. It’s Thanksgiving, after all. And they have families to attend to. Surely we would understand, and when they were all here, I thought I would.
But sitting here now, in the empty “service room” with the garish green carpet on the walls and the uglier carpet on the floor, the smell of age and decay clogging my nostrils… now I don’t understand. Now all I can think of is how fucking wrong this is.
He deserved better than this. He was so wonderful, and selfless and kind. He was a gentleman to his very core. He was soft and sensitive and easily amused. Especially by me.
He thought I hung the moon. And now he’s gone. And no one is here. And I’m trying so hard to be strong and brave and the lady he would have wanted me to be. But the emptiness is too much, the loneliness overwhelming. The realization that my champion has left – and no one is here – is finally too much.
And the only thing left to do is weep.
My Poppi died 12 years ago. We took him off life support a few short days before Thanksgiving after he suffered an unexpected stroke that left him basically brain dead. He was chivalry and grace and love personified.
And this year, he reminds me to reach out and hold on to those I still can.