Today was difficult. It was the second trip down to pack and move Dad's stuff, but at least this time I wasn't alone. My sibs and their mom were there and had done a lot of work by the time I got there with Ten and my mom. Cars were packed, items were sorted into piles of what would be donated, thrown away, and stored at my sibs' place while we made our way through it in our own time.
We gave my mom Dad's vinyl. When they were together vinyl was still a thing, after all, so she had more memories wrapped up in them than any of the rest of us, although I'm sure my brother had listened to some of it with Dad. The other reason I wanted her to have it was that her vinyl was destroyed a few years ago in a leaky storage space.
All told we were there about 90 minutes, and afterward had Thai food. It was a difficult day, but I kept it together until Ten and I were almost all the way home. One of the items I decided to keep was a turkey pan, and thinking about this reminded me that I wouldn't be seeing my dad at Thanksgiving this year. It made me grateful that my mom started inviting him to Thanksgiving dinner with our side of the family while I was still in college. It made me uncomfortable at first, but I think that time together helped Dad patch things back together with me.
Last Thanksgiving was weird. We didn't have a family dinner really. I made a couple of over-saged turkey thighs (which were still raved about even though I didn't like them), gluten- and dairy-free gravy, mashed potatoes, and gluten-free cornbread stuffing. None of it was as good as previous years, but I saved some for my dad anyway (who was only down 50-ish pounds by that point), and he loved it. My mom reminds me that my dad was an easy man to cook for.
Thanksgiving is that holiday in my family. That holiday that's really important to the matriarchs, and as my family is becoming not only larger, but fractured, I can see why. Still, the fractures in my family are too clear. Ten is unwilling to have his family spend time with mine; my siblings and their mother aren't interested in family holidays with my mom; meanwhile none of these disparate elements take seriously the familial bonds between me and Dame and her family (funnily, my son-in-law's family takes my relationship with Dame more seriously than my own family does, even though they've known my weird propensity for acquiring family members much longer).
So, despite having a turkey pan now, I don't think I'll ever be allowed to have all of my family over for Thanksgiving at the same time; even once. And it makes me sad, because now my daddy won't even be there and he's the one who would appreciate it the most.