(NaBloPoMo for Nov. 28, 2013)

On Thanksgiving of 1996, my sisters and I sat in vigil as our mother suffered a heart attack and died in the hospital in which we were all born, and where she was a nurse.  Each of us has written a short bit of memory of that day as part of our Thanksgiving memories… and I share them here as well…

(My younger sister’s words….) Thanksgiving Day-Thursday,Nov. 28th, 1996…..Mom had surgery earlier in the week. I visited her Thanksgiving Day morning, then left to have a feast with my brother-in-law and his extended family. Charlie Johnson received a call from the hospital to come quickly, as Mom was NOT ok. He had to track me down-(no cell phones then)As I left the feast in tears, and turned on my cassette of The National Lutheran Choir-the song was “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder,” Followed by “It Is Well With My Soul!” I knew then that we were going to send Mom on her way to heaven soon. It was a long afternoon, and evening at the hospital waiting for family to arrive. I will always be grateful to Linda Pogorelec and Julie Phaneuf-Hill for their love and support as friends and nurses that day. I am THANKFUL that we will gather tomorrow as we have for these past 17 years to celebrate our family and love. “For I am convinced that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.” Romans 8:38-read at Mom’s beside as we said our goodbyes that night.

(My older sister’s words…) Seventeen years ago today, my mom died. My brother, sister, aunt, uncle and many friends spent time in the ICU waiting room. Some of my sister’s friends even brought us Thanksgiving dinner from their own homes so we could have dinner together. The pastor from Our Savior’s came to be with us and send Mom on her way home. An aunt from California called to tell us to “carry on” the legacy of Mom and her family – and we have. Our children now are grown; we have grandchildren whom we are teaching the legacy of love and music – and for the 17th time tomorrow, we will have ThanksChristGivingMas – where we all get together, laugh, sing, share goofy gifts, wonderful food and each other. When we sing grace tomorrow, I will be aware of those “who have gone beyond”, believing they will be singing with us. “Blessed” is such a tiny, weak word to express our lives…but it is what we truly, deeply are.

(My words…) My sisters have posted that on Thanksgiving of 1996, our mother left this earth to join her husband and so many others in the Great Hereafter. She had gone in the day before to have surgery – and it unfortunately ended this way. I can’t add to what my sisters have said – how we are so thankful for those friends and family who sat vigil with us that night – so I will add my own pieces to the puzzle of the day. Mom had come the weekend before to visit me and my family – to have our own Thanksgiving dinner, which we did in earnest. We had a nice meal and a nice visit. We knew the surgery was scheduled and that I’d be going up to be there…. so as she left our front door to return back to Parkville, we hugged as she left, and then waved as she drove off (in her tan Ciera, all you FARGO fans…. yes, that was her wheels of the day…). I had no real idea that I had had my last feast with her … as we gathered later that week, and then established our family tradition of getting together every Thanksgiving Friday, we have come to celebrate those sad days as we recall her, dad, and so many others that have gone on … and we are so THANKFUL for all of our family, past and present… and NEW, as we have our first celebration with two new faces in Aria and Raelyn…. Thanksgiving, indeed!us