My family spent Thanksgiving of this year eating cafeteria turkey and stuffing on the 20th floor of Mass General Hospital in my mom’s hospital room.
When someone in your life gets sick, holidays kind of become this huge thing. Partially because other people make them so (see numerous emails/letters from friends and loved ones to me and my family gently commenting on how hard the holidays must be for us right now), and mostly because you make them so (I don’t care if Mom has cancer, this is going to be the best fucking Thanksgiving EVER!).
Holidays are weird. You don’t think about them your whole life and then something happens that makes everything in your life different, and suddenly holidays are a huge, looming event that will either be amazing or horrible.
We had excitedly made plans for a family Thanksgiving dinner at home, so when disaster struck the Sunday before it wrecked havoc on everything – our wary sense of stability, our nerves, our fears, our family, our Thanksgiving. It was a huge letdown, and a big reminder that things just weren’t right.
On Thanksgiving, I felt REALLY bad for myself. Everyone else, all my friends, were going through their Thanksgivings as if they were second nature, hating their families and getting drunk; while I was dragging my Ugg boots through the Mass General parking garage to go stare at my sick mom.
Then I got inside the hospital and noticed a whole lot of other people and families doing the exact same thing. And on that Thanksgiving, the hospital was filled with LOTS of people, their holidays also screwed and uncomfortable and wrong – and way worse than mine.
So when Christmas Eve became Christmas at midnight last night, I turned to my mom and cheered. “We’re not having Christmas in the hospital!”
And we did not, and it was great. But I know lots of people did, and will.
So I am thinking about them today, and always.