On Thanksgiving this year, we decided to celebrate at home. We lost my Father-in-Law earlier this month to lung cancer, so we were not yet ready for the free for all that most of our family gatherings seem to become. We decided that we would hold Dad's Celebration of Life on this day, and did not want all the extra noise and hassle that a multitude of people can create.
We invited only my husband's aunt and her son, whom I will here out call Don. My husbands aunt had to work, so we were down to one guest, but that was fine. It was time for us to start our own traditions, but were not yet comfortable with the idea, and he was our buffer. Don brought along his new digital camera and three brand new memory chips. We were going to christen this camera properly.
All day long our four year old son ran around with his imaginary friends. He entertained, set three extra places at his table, ate with them and played in his room with them while impatiently awaiting the time for the Celebration of Life ceremony.
We chose Thanksgiving Day as we DO have so much to be thankful for. Thankful that he is no longer struggling for breath. Thankful that a walk to the mailbox no longer will cause us alarm. Thankful that he now has the opportunity to rekindle old friendships and possible a few friendly wars too. Thankful, also, that the Great Spirit rode up on His magnificent white steed and led him into the Land of Many Summers.
Periodically throughout the day Don would snap off photos of our children. His son had spent the holiday with his ex-wife, so he was feeling lost without him and filled the down time with our children. The traditional after turkey nap was replaced with photo shoots all over the house and yard. The kids loved it. Well, at one point the fifteen year old would have enjoyed a nap, but Don was not going to let that happen.
When it was time for the Celebration of Life we all headed outside. As Dad loved a good campfire we built a huge bonfire in our fire pit. I won't go into the details of the ceremony as it turned rather lengthy and soon the sun was setting. As we were privately saying our personal farewells to this man who graced our presence for too short a time, I looked over to where my son was playing by the fire pit. All I could do was watch him.
We all heard him say "Please don't go yet..." I caught my breath. I had been waiting for a visit from my Father-in-Law since his passing and I was waiting to hear my son say papa. He never did. Instead he reached up his arms and simply said "Hugs". That is his way of asking for a hug when his emotions overwhelm him and he is on the verge of tears.
I am not going to lie. I did not see a thing. I looked. Don, however saw the opportunity of a snapshot to rival JFK Jr's final salute to his Dad and took some photos. What we got was interesting. Near the top left hand corner, in a direct line from my son's up reached arms is a faint orb.
He seemed so happy. I do not know that this was his Papa's spirit who had come to join us on Thanksgiving. I do not know WHOSE spirit it may have been, or even if it was one. What I do know is the pure joy on the face of my son as he lowered his arms, turned his face forward and waved goodbye.
We had a few more interesting photos that day also. In one, a wisp of something can be seen immediately behind my daughters head. In another there is a type of fog (on an otherwise very clear night) over the love seat that used to be Dad's favorite outside chair.
I'd like to say that Dad joined us in his Celebration of Life, but the truth is, I do not know. What do these photos show?