Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bittersweet Thanksgiving

I hope that you are all enjoying your thanksgving celebration, wherever you are, be it large or small.

For the past few years, we've been part of a pretty large celebration at the holidays. We've celebrated with my inlaws. Generally Thanksgivings have been ten (or eleven if my brother in law is not in Iraq). Christmases have been larger, between thirteen and fifeen people.  This year, we are three, enjoying a relaxing Thanksgiving at home. As kids grow, traditions change and all of the relatives are traveling or committed for Thanksgiving.

This is not "new" to us.  For most of our marriage, we lived across the country (or across the ocean) from family.  We traveled every third or fourth holiday, and the rest of the time had Thanksgiving or Christmas for four.  While we missed seeing family ever year, we managed our own traditions.  These include midnight mass and then opening stockings, and steak and lobster for Christmas.  This year, once I knew we would be "alone", I decided to cheat a bit. Instead of cooking, I've taken advantage of all the convienience that my local stores have to offer.  This goes against my frugal grain, but it makes for a truly relaxing holiday.  To that end we have  boneless ham, praline sweet potatoes, green beans almondine, mashed potatoes and two pies.  All prepared and ready to reheat.  Meanwhile, the family gets a chance to relax and spend time together.  We also have read the Black Friday ads, and are part of that Thanksgiving tradition, football (pro and college).  Later we'll give thanks and partake of lots of yummy food, which we'll need to walk off tomorrow.  All and all, life is good.

On the other hand, as often happens, this holiday has a bittersweet quality.  Fall always has it's issues for me. I enjoy the change in the weather (although I hate the cold) and love to look towards Christmas. Still, my father died on Halloween. My husband died on Veteran's day.  This means that fall for me is a mixed bag.

Circumstances have combined to make this Thanksgiving weekend one of those "mixed bag" occasions. My sweet labradore beagle mix is sixteen years old.  Just in the past month or so he has gone downhill rapidly.  What may have been a minor injury has now combined with degenerative arthritis (and possibly a tumor) to make life difficult and painful for our pet. He no longer runs and barks, begs for food, or does any of his other loved activities. Even with heavy pain meds, he limps excessively. He can no longer stand on his own (we need to life up his hindquarters for him). He has not slept for a week because of the pain.  The end result is this:  today we spoil him and give him some of everything on our Thanksgiving plates.  Tomorrow we to go the vet, and unless she gives me a reason otherwise, we will say good by to my baby. 

 It is always hard to say goodbye.   Magic has been a member of our family since we rescued him fifteen years ago.  He's been with us through thick and thin.  He slept with my husband and I (as did our other dog) for most of his life.  This is one of those times when doing the right thing for the dog is not the right thing for me.  Still, we will never forget him and I and my children will have wonderful memories of what a wonderful pet and member of our family he was.

So as we give thanks for everything in our lives, we especailly give thanks for my wonderful doggie this Thanksgiving day.


  1. Ahh, Barb, I know how you feel. I lost my 12 year old poodle this last March and it is always a tough thing to do the best for the pet. That is the hard part of loving these creatures that are part of our family. I'll be thinking of you.

  2. I am glad that you have one joyous holiday with your loved dog. Tomorrow will be a hard day. You will be in my prayers.

  3. Oh my eyes were rimmed with tears. I feel your pain at having to say goodbye to your dog. I had to put my beloved German Shepherd, Miranda, to sleep on my birthday a few years ago. My thoughts are with you and I am saying a prayer.

    Lori S.

  4. I am so sorry about your beloved pet. My heart and thoughts are with you at this time.

  5. Barb,
    Having just lost a pet a few months ago, I understand what you are going through. Your dog lived a good life and is having a good Thanksgiving.

    My prayers are with you and your beloved pet.

  6. Our 18-year-old potbellied pig, Bud, died yesterday in the wee hours of the morning. The crematory man will be here in 45 minutes to pick up his body, and we'll get his ashes back in a couple of weeks. We'll have a little ceremony, light sweet sage, play a little drum, and scatter him in the side yard under the big cedars.

    It's much better for him, as he was getting very weak, but he had a good long life and we're glad to have shared it with him.

    I'll be thinking of you.

  7. I'm so sorry .. it's so hard to let our beloved friends go, even if it's the right thing to do.

  8. That is so sad. It's a tough decision to make but it was the right one. I've held 3 of my cats at the vet's as they passed away. My one remaining cat is 17 years old but still healthy. When I see that she is suffering then I'll be making that decision for her too.


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