My mom loved throwing parties. Holidays were always celebrated and they were celebrated in a BIG way. St. Patrick’s Day was always one of her favorites. We like to refer to our extended family as “The United Nations”, because there is a little bit of everything intertwined. Catholics, Jews, Mormons. Irish, Italian, English, Scottish, German…the list goes on and on but on St. Patrick’s Day, to my mom, everyone was Irish. That was her rule. She would cook pounds and pounds of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes and we’d all gather at my parents house to eat. This year, we decided, would be no different. What better way to celebrate her. So today, I went to their house early and started cooking. Since we were preparing nearly 30 POUNDS of corned beef, my cousin Lisa came over with her crock pot so that we could cook it all at once. It was much easier than I expected it to be. Other than needing to be there to make sure the pots didn’t spill over, there was very little to do.
Drew wanted to be a part of the preparation so much. He helped peel and cut the potatoes. He carried chairs up from the basement so there would be places for everyone to sit. He opened the blinds in the family room that have not been opened in awhile. He said it was “so that grandma could look in while we were celebrating”.
Around four o’clock people started arriving. There were 26 for dinner. It was a typical St. Patrick’s Day at mom’s. Neighbors were dropping by all evening to pay their respects and I think they were surprised to see the festivities and laughter and joy that was going on. We told them it was just what she would have wanted. She would want us to go on as normal. We were celebrating her. It was a welcome release from the previous days that were spent dwelling on sadness. We have a lot of emotional days ahead of us. The normalcy of today was a good break for all of us.
We are all going to grieve, and we will do it in our own way, but I know that my mom would have wanted us to be together tonight. It was good for all of us. There is no time line for when we will stop grieving for her. The pain will lessen eventually and for all of us it will be different. Holidays have never been small in our family. Those days are going to be bittersweet from now on. She might not be there physically anymore, but her spirit will live on for all of us. It wouldn’t be a party without her!