Thanksgiving Before and After My Mother's Death

After My Mother Passed Away, Our Family’s Thanksgiving Traditions Changed

The story of how family traditions may change, drastically but family never does.


The scent of turkey roasting fills the air, with its savory scent. The sound of my mother standing over the mixer cussing about how the potatoes don't seem to be mixing right, and the sight of my dog licking up any food dropped. This is what Thanksgiving morning looked like in my household circa 2010, before the tragedy that would change the holiday forever.

Now, Thanksgiving is my father and me driving to McDonald's the morning of and ordering burgers and fries. Then we go home and make a small selection of dishes, depending on what we had been feeling the week prior when we did our shopping. My dog lays by the wall watching as my dad and I fight our way around the kitchen to make dinner for 3.

My mother would gracefully twirl, and glide her way through the cooking process the morning of. She wouldn't let us eat anything that morning knowing we would be stuffing ourselves by 2:00 p.m. sharp. My mother would tell us to sit back and relax as she would cook. I would be sitting in front of the T.V. watching the parade while my mother filled the background with cooking.

Now on Thanksgiving, it is my father, my brother and me gathering around a table full of food. We sit down, and we joke, and talk about silly nothings. We don't even dress up anymore for Thanksgiving — Thanksgiving is now your best sweat apparel.

My mother would finish cooking and go into her room to get ready. I, forever being a mommy's girl when I was little, would follow and watch. I would watch as she would lay out multiple outfits, and pick through which one she liked the most. I would sit on the bed and watch as she would stand in her bathroom, with the T.V playing in her room, and curl her hair and do her makeup. I would watch as she picked apart her appearance until she was happy with the final product and would ice it with earrings.

Now we sit at a table with our elbows on the table and looking through our cell phones. We now, acknowledge each other through, not fully acknowledging each other. We now sit and sip a glass of wine or a beer here and there. We now sit in comfort on a day where we should be uncomfortably comfortable.

My grandmother and grandfather would usually be the first to arrive. They would arrive early and sit and talk to my mother while alienating my father, brother, and me. We would go off into the living room, and sit and find something interesting to watch. We would hide, and confide in each other. My aunt and cousins would be the last to show up, showing up usually right before dinner, and we would all sit and share our meal at this time.

Now we finish our meal and go off to our separate corners until someone feels the need to have pie. When we decide to have pie, we don't sit in the dining room. Instead, we eat our pie in the kitchen. We sit and eat our pie in comfortable silence.

My mother used to ensure we sat around the table until everyone finished their meal. She would then proceed to make tea and get out pie. We would then sit around and eat pie and drink tea as more formalities were exchanged.

In the end, there are pronounced changes, whether happy or not, to how my family and I view the holiday. It has impacted my life and view on the holidays in general, but it has neither been positive or negative because at the end of the day all that matters is not the formality or size of the event, but who you are spending your time with.

This Thanksgiving, remember not to take for granted the family time you have because you never know who may not be there next Thanksgiving.

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