Recently I had reason to be at the hospital where my mom died. It is an amazingly beautiful place and for a few weeks after her death I would go there and walk around and sometimes even buy a coffee at the Dunkin Donuts in the atrium.
When I went back this time though, something had changed. It no longer brought the feelings of comfort it had brought when my mom was a patient there. In those days I would walk to the food court or the gift shop knowing I was going back to the one woman who loved me the most. Oh sure, we had anger at some of the doctors and, of course, ultimately we wanted her home with us, but for quite some time that building was the cocoon that kept my family together and safe. Most of the nurses kept us sane and let us feel the comfort of others without having to step outside the hospital doors.
It was the same with the house I sold in June. Without my mom there it didn't feel like the home we had started to create together. It was a lovely house to be sure, but my mom was not there and it felt more like house than home.
Recently, I was quite sick and spent the day in bed. When I asked my husband why my dad had not been to visit and then cried about it he knew I must be dehydrated as my dad has been dead since 1997. However, the fact remains that I know I spent several hours with my mom that day. We both sat on lawn chairs on the grass overlooking a beautiful river where people were laughing and jumping in. Sure- it could be due to the dehydration, yet even though I don't remember the conversation, I do remember the feeling. It was a wonderful feeling to be with her.
The feeling....that is what it is. The feeling our loved ones give us that makes our hearts overflow with happiness. It isn't about the building you are in together or even the things you do together (although those things can bring about nice traditions). It is about sitting and reading quietly next to your husband and daughter. It is about laughing hysterically with your sister. It is about sitting in front of the fire saying absolutely nothing with your brother and his entire family and being absolutely okay with it.
So often it is when absolutely nothing is going on, that I look around and thank God for the joy that is my family and my life. Who are you thankful for? What feeling do you get when they are with you? Do they know this? Tell them. Everyday is a new chance to tell them.