Reg passed away nine days before Thanksgiving, so my first Thanksgiving was absolute hell. In the past, we often held Thanksgiving at our house. We would invite my family and friends who had nowhere else to go. Reg loved to cook and was an amazing chef, so he cooked the meal.
In the morning, I would run a Turkey Trot 4-mile race to benefit the United Way in the park near our house. Reg wasn’t a fan of big crowds, and this race always has thousands of participants. So, he only ran it once. Instead, he would usually sleep in and then sit on the couch watching football. I would walk in the front door from the race, and he would ask, “How did it go, girl?” He always, always asked me how I did.
On the first Thanksgiving after he passed away, I had already registered for the race, not knowing he would be dead. So, I participated anyway. I remember thinking I had nothing else to do, so I might as well run. It was a warm day, so there were many people there, and they all seemed happy. The Green Bay Packers were playing football that day, so there were many people wearing Green Bay jerseys, hats, and T-shirts. Reg was a huge Packers fan, so seeing the Green Bay gear on all of these joyful people was absolute torment for me. In fact, being around people in high spirits—whether or not they were Packers fans—felt agonizing. Seeing the reminders of my old life—a happy life—was nearly debilitating.
I remember arriving home from the race and walking through the front door. He wasn’t there to ask me how the race went. I remember just bursting into wrenching tears. It was so incredibly painful. Thankfully, my cats greeted me at the door, so I at least felt some love. It was, of course, not the same.
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