She’d be standing in the kitchen, apron tied snugly around her waist. Delicious Thanksgiving smells – turkey, stuffing, scalloped potatoes, mashed turnip and more – would be emanating from her kitchen. The table sparkled like something out of Traditional Home magazine – she would have spent weeks planning the perfect color candles, linen napkins and crowd favorite – table gifts – which she had personally selected and wrapped for each guest. Thanksgiving at Mom and Dad’s house was simply magical because Mom infused every part of the holiday with the most important ingredient, LOVE.
When a person who overflows with love departs this earth, it is expected that those left behind experience only sadness. My family and I will concur that this has been our experience, especially on our first major holiday. But as I ponder Thanksgiving day 2016, I am reminded that Mom’s deep and lasting love can move mountains and even cause miracles – a Thanksgiving miracle for all of us.
This Thanksgiving found the three Powers children and our families in 3 different states – Ohio, Connecticut and Maine. My wonderful Dad was lucky enough to spend the holiday with the fabulous Carrozza family in CT. My brother spent a wonderful day in Maine with Tania’s family and I enjoyed a lovely vacation in Ohio with Peter’s family. Despite our geographic distances, we remained very close via text, phone and photos. All of our communications focused on our beautiful mother and how we were each remembering and honoring her today.
Despite our obvious sadness, we were all able to find a bit of joy with those we were blessed to be with today. I realized that this is the miracle – Mom’s miracle. My brother Joe carried on Mom’s incredible cooking traditions in his Maine kitchen with his son Joe’s help. A beautiful photo of Mom stood in the window – next to a statue of our Blessed Mother. My sister made a fabulous meal for her family and our Dad and then took time to pray in the Adoration Chapel with the kids and Dad – thanking God for the gift of Mom’s life. Our family, Pete’s parents and his brother Kurt and family attended Mass together (something Mom loved to do on Thanksgiving). I thought about Mom during the entire Mass and felt a closeness to her that was palpable. Peter then cooked a simply delicious dinner for all of us. (Mom loved Pete’s skill in the kitchen.)
Later in the day, my sister-in-law Tania sent me a beautiful prayer (below)- she felt Mom speaking to her through the words and I have to say that I agree.
At the end of the day when I was saying goodnight to my sister and Dad – Liz told me a story “You won’t believe this Christmas cactus plant. It was Mom’s and she told me to hold it for her. I never did get it back to her. It was gone a few months ago and the girls told me to throw it away. I didn’t and watered it not expecting much. Look at what Mom did with this plant…”
On the surface these things may seem insignificant – but I know they aren’t. Each one of us experienced joy today amidst the deep sadness and pain in our hearts. This joy came from love, Mom’s love which lives on thanks to her heroic virtue. “Take joy always” she would say – even if you are sad, worried, questioning, upset or just not sure where life is leading you. Mom allowed Dad, Joe, Liz and me to “take a little joy” today – I call that a Thanksgiving miracle!