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.
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?