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  • Dr. Susan Rose

Thanksgiving to Disney World

Updated: Jan 31

We were all dreading our first holiday without you. You always brought the fun with your wonderful sense of humor and over the top generosity. And, of course, we reminisced over past Thanksgivings from the children bringing the feast to your hospital room last room year to the chaotic years with dinners at both our parents houses in Ashland to the years with us as the "Mom and Dad" to "Papa and Gogo" and all those years in between.

So, David thought it best for us to get away and do something entirely different rather than try to recreate something that we couldn't possibly do with your chair empty. He offered to pay for us all to go the Disney World. With Lauren's help in finding a condo and organizing the trip, we were off for the week of Thanksgiving.

The Browns drove down, while David and I flew. We had all gone to Build a Bear to have your heart-beat put into stuffed animals as a "memory box" kind of thing. I missed you so badly that I took mine with me. It's a teddy bear dressed like you - plaid shorts, a U of L t-shirt, and black tennis shoes. I'm sure people got a laugh out of "grandma" carrying a stuffed toy through the airport with no kids in sight. But, one thing I have learned through walking this earth without you in physical form is that people's opinions don't matter. I so wish I had listened to you and learned that earlier. Loss, especially a loss so painful of losing you, gives perspective for sure.

We met up at the condo, which was very nice. The condo itself had three bedrooms, a lovely dining room, a fully equipped kitchen with an eat-in with a bar as well, and a really nice family room. The property was beautiful with an arcade room, a beautiful pool, and plenty of space. It should have been a nice vacation, and it was for the most part, because we were together. Yet, the elephant in the room - as it were - was that you weren't there. It was just too soon to have very much enjoyment out of anything - even with our wonderful children and grandchildren. Yet, we persevered on. We had to learn to live this life separated from you for the moment.

On the first day, we all arrived late, so we got settled and stayed in that night. Lauren had ordered groceries and had them delivered, so we had food in the condo. The next day, we drove around and toured the part of Orlando where were staying on our way over to Disney Springs (what will always be Downtown Disney to me) for dinner. Then, we walked around and shopped. The next day was spent swimming, playing at the arcade room and enjoying the condo. On Thanksgiving Day, we went to a really nice restaurant where Lauren had booked reservations.

Then, on Friday, we went to Disney World. As you know, I am emotional eater. So, given that I was an emotional wreck trying to fit into this world as an "I" rather than a "we", I had put on some weight since the last time we walked around Disney World. This, along with the pity party that I can now admit I threw for myself in those first couple of years, made it difficult to get around. I tried, but eventually ended up walking back up to the front to get a scooter. On Saturday, we checked out of the condo before we went to EPCOT. Lauren helped me to get a scooter before we went in this time as it had been a "thing" the day before. Yet, this day was even more difficult than the Magic Kingdom day. I'm not sure if it was overtired from the previous day or that EPCOT was your favorite and held such memories - probably a mix of both, but this day was difficult for all of us. Still, we plodded through and managed to make it fun for the children. We made it through our first holiday and made a few good memories, even with the struggle of our patriarch in heaven.

I will always love you!!!

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