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Setting The Table

Setting the Table

Setting the table for Thanksgiving, once a favorite ritual for me, becomes an emotional event of anxiety and sadness of what was and what is now since Derek passed. That extra placemat and set of silverware is placed back in the drawer. I cried and carried on the best I could and then, a slow and steady warmth of love came over me. Our guests will be here soon! Derek’s Army buddy, co-traveler and good friend, Nate, his wife Giovanna and their one-year-old daughter Flavia were driving all the way from Nebraska to spend Thanksgiving with us! They arrive, we greet them outside. I scoop up Flavia from the car seat, having never met her and Giovanna, she smiles and nestles her face in my neck. I lose my breath from the instant love I have for her. I hug Giovanna and more love fills my heart and then to Nate, a long hug, more love, and such a relief they arrived safely. Giovanna is from Italy, not far from where Nate and Derek were stationed for three years. This was her first Thanksgiving! My daughter Nic was feeling the same wave of love and hope I was and so was Dave. It was a gathering of new family; we sat around the table and had a delicious meal. We listened so closely to every word as Nate told story after story about his travels with Derek, the Swiss Guard who took them to the top of the Vatican, their trips to Greece and Milan. This Thanksgiving was a new, different and hope filled gathering of new memories and added family where Derek lives in their hearts too.

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