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Stand In The Rain

It's Thanksgiving. Our third one without Dave. The first Thanksgiving after Dave died was the first "major" holiday, and I remember driving to Denise's house, stuck in traffic on the freeway, crawling along at 10 mph, hearing Lonestar's "I'm Already There" and all four of us crying. Rivers of tears. Tears with no end.

There weren't any tears this year. My heart didn't simply break into a million piecese when I looked around the table and Dave wasn't there. I didn't expect to see him bounding around the corner, with that little bounce in his step, keys jingling. My eyes didn't fill when I saw Amy or Luke or Jake squeeze through the furniture and thought of Dave putting up his legs, setting up a "toll gate," the price of passage a big Dave-hug. Is that better? In some ways I think it's worse. To absolutely know he's gone. And to have become resigned to it. To have that missing him become part of the landscape. It's no longer jarring. It doesn't punch me in the gut (most of the time, anyway), it doesn't rip my heart out or make it impossible to even breathe. I've rubbed away the rough edges of this loss. Why does that feel somehow even worse?

There was much to be thankful for this year. Kenny, Zach and Kate are thriving and succeeding and meeting life's challenges. They're happy, for the most part. Denise and Darren brought Jake, Amy and Luke and the cousins were in heaven. It's been a while since we've seen Jake. He's been busy working and finishing his senior year at Kelso High and taking classes at LCC preparing to go to Michigan for college. I can't tell you how good it was to see him, to hug him. I got to spend a lot of time with Jake when he was a baby and his dad was in Iraq, and he's one of my own. I'm really proud of him. He's going to study fire science and paramedics. Growing into a hero. But I thought he was a hero, even in his days of blue mohawks and bass guitars. Always was a sucker for a rock star.

Amy and Kate did David's restaurant again. They rearranged the living room and cooked us all dinner. We ordered from handprinted menus decorated with turkeys. Even the brothers joined in which was amazing. Darren was quite the difficult customer, "Oh, miss....can I have more cornbread?" "Oh, miss...can I have more butter?" "Oh miss...can I get some mushrooms in my chili?" "Oh, miss..." But he did leave them a good tip!

I guess I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

The boys.

The girls.

Kate and Duke...who is such a love.

Koda. Only 6 months!

Snickers...who rules the roost around here. Completely.

The whole clan.

Zach, sitting on my lap and squishing Kate.

Kate and Amy...up to no good in the kitchen.

Same story, different day.

Denise and Luke, waiting to order.

Evil Uncle Darren, the tough customer.


Kenny. Ta da!

Me and Kenny...taking pictures of ourselves. Who better?

The aftermath.


  1. "There weren't any tears this year."

    And that's the big challenge, navigating a route through grief without forgetting, without suppressing the depth of love we have for what was lost.

    Grief to me is like a big piece of unwieldy furniture. It was delivered to your door and you have to fit it into your house but it's of such a size and shape that it really doesn't fit anywhere. You didn't ask for it, but you can't give it away or sell it, it's yours.

    So you stick it somewhere but it's not a good place and you keep smashing into it and you get a black eye and stubbed toes and maybe other people in your house bump into it too.

    So you spend some time and rearrange everything and you finally find somewhere that at least kind of works, most of the time. At least you aren't constantly smashing into it anymore.

    But nothing is ever static and you remodel your house or you move and that piece of furniture is in the way again and for a while you are bruised from bumping into it during your daily activities.

    So you do some more rearrangement and find another place that works for a while.

    And this cycle repeats over and over but eventually you maybe find a place where it can stay for a good long time.

    But maybe even finding that comfortable place can feel like a loss.

    Your Thanksgiving looks wonderful. Wishing for you a happy holiday season, it's revving up into full gear, isn't it?

  2. Chelle
    Oh my friend the music you choose is always so perfect. There were tears for Dave but they were just all contained and bottled inside. Everyone was thinking the same thing you were in your heart; words unspoken. Although the jagged edges are smoothing out we all know the pain remains. I am glad your sister and family were there for Thanksgiving. Your mother's words and the obvious respect she has for you and what you have been through always brings tears to my eyes.

    As I prepare for the 4th trip home since Dad died this Christmas I know what you mean. The previous trips I kept thinking maybe he will be at the airport, maybe he will be at home or surely he will come through that door anytime but this time I know he won't be at the airport or the house or anywhere else for that matter and yes it almost hurts more. Grief is horrible and I think it lives in your body forever and ever and it becomes a more comfortable fit and occassionally it engulfs you just to remind you it is still there. You talk about Zack, Kenny and Kate doing so well and meeting the day to day challenges for the most part but you are to Chelle. You are super!

  3. I'm glad this years Thanksgiving was nice for your family.
    The kids look good. Koda is growing so fast and the new cat has that look of ruling the roost. What a cutie.
    It's hard to stand your ground when the rain is all around.
    It's snowing here. Has been off and on for the last few days. Can't remember the last time we had snow in nov.
    Think of you. Sherri

  4. Chellebelle,

    It's good. It is. It's hard and sad and rotten at times but it is good. You're doin good. Love the pics, love em. Love those kids. Love those animals. Love the mom.

    Take care my friend. Thinkin of you tons.


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