What Thanksgiving Means to Me
by Stacy on Nov 14, 2022
Thanksgiving is probably my family’s favorite holiday. It’s cliché, but it’s true. Plus, it’s ironic because my husband is not even American and was unfamiliar with the holiday when we first met! Being from Mexico, everything about Thanksgiving was foreign to him — from the menu to the intention behind the holiday itself.
But, over the years, we’ve come to nurture a shared love of Thanksgiving. Alberto and I love the time spent together cooking and preparing for our Thanksgiving meal. Each year, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we take a trip to the farmers market and stock up on all the ingredients needed to make our mouth-watering dishes. Then, we spend the rest of the day doing the bulk of the cooking, followed by a long walk on the beach in California.
The next day, Alberto, myself, and the rest of our children, family, and friends gather for the feast. We indulge in my homemade pecan pie, turkey which has been brined for two days, two different types of stuffing, homemade popovers (which are always a crowd pleaser), a gratin, vegetables, my sister’s homemade ice cream, cranberry tarts, pumpkin cheesecake, and more!
But, Thanksgiving is more than just a meal for our family. It is a reminder of all we have and should be grateful for.
Just over 20 years ago, my family’s Thanksgiving evening looked a lot different than the scene I just described. Instead of gathering around a table of delicious food, Alberto and I spent the holiday in the hospital for his first long, five-day round of chemotherapy. It was by far the absolute worst time in our lives.
Alberto was to spend the six days in-patient for his chemotherapy to monitor how his body would react to the huge chemical attack, especially on his kidneys. I can remember leaving the hospital briefly for a quick visit to join my three young children for dinner and just bursting into tears. We were only seven days into his diagnosis and already the pressure was too much.
The fear, anxiety, guilt, worry, and pain I was in was nearly too much to bear. Shortly after the wave of emotions that flooded through me, I returned to the hospital where I spent every night of my husband’s treatment for almost six months whenever he was hospitalized. There began my ultimate respect for being a caregiver, the sacrifice caregivers make, and the silent pain we endure.
So now, every Thanksgiving, instead of blissfully flying through the holiday, I pause and remember what it is like for so many on this day. Thanksgiving is a day to be grateful and appreciate life, but for many it is also a hard day to get through, spent missing loved ones and suffering silently.
I salute all caregivers out there on this Thanksgiving. You have motivated me in life on my quest to treat cancer and now in business to celebrate you. Stay tuned to hear how Meadow will celebrate all caregivers during National Caregivers Month in February.