Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

The Unhappy Thanksgiving

Before I start this post, I want to state clearly, that I do not have the hostility towards this holiday, or others, that I shared thirty years ago.  But you need to understand what was going on thirty years ago to understand why my Thanksgiving in 1988 was just so unhappy.

There is a reason you should not make your wedding day on your birthday.  Celebrate the two occasions separately as they were meant to be recognized.    Do not get married on a holiday, just as bad a thought.  It is a fact of life, bad things happen.  And if it is tragic enough, or at best, critical, the date becomes a constant reminder of a time that you would rather forget.  A divorce on your birthday or the birthday of someone close to you, a severe auto accident on a wedding anniversary, a death on a holiday, what was once a memorable and cherished time for everyone to gather, remains a dark memory every year that the date approaches.  I have my share of these moments between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  But this time, back in 1988, evidently was finally too much for me to look past.

Even with my denial aside, I believed 100% that I was dealing with an injury, that all seven doctors who had seen me previously had to be wrong (perhaps I should have gone back to my original doctor, after all, he knew me best and would believe me), I now had a pending cancer diagnosis ahead of me.  My fiance’s birthday had just past (see what I meant about events on a birthday or holiday?) and now the two of us would have to get through the holiday weekend.  A major task considering neither of us had told anyone else what was going on with me, nor did we feel this was the appropriate time to bring everyone down.  After all, what if the doctors were wrong?  I would have worried everyone for nothing.

So instead, the two of us sat fairly silent and solemn at the different Thanksgiving tables (my family and hers).  It was fairly unusual for me to be quiet, let alone both of us, but really, with what was on our minds, we definitely had nothing to say.  Everyone else had made up for our silence with their own conversations, not realizing that my fiance and I really were “lost” in a world, somewhere where there was no holiday that was being celebrated.

We still had the entire weekend to get through before I would find out the results of the biopsy.  Thanksgiving weekend was a long enough weekend without this on my mind also.

**** side note – I would spend the next two years dealing with my cancer, and the emotions that came with it, especially during the holidays.  In years following, my feelings toward the holidays had not improved.  I tried.  I really tried.  But not until my daughters came into my life, would I actually even attempt to recognize the holidays again, especially for their sake.  I get through these holidays now, for their sake.  And because I know that it makes people feel good to wish “Happy” this and “Happy” that, I do say thank you, and offer the same back.  But in my heart, it is not that happy a time for me.

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