This week, we rejoiced that we had one more holiday to spend together.
By Marilyn Mackenzie
Today was different; today was the same. Which one was it?
Some months ago, I made the same trip from Texas to Michigan. Today was the same.
My trip in April had been the first time I had flown since our nation’s tragedy on Sept. 11. There were armed National Guardsmen posted at every door. Security personnel searched my car trunk as I entered the parking garage. Today, I parked my car just as I had before that fateful day in September 2001. Armed security guards were gone. In their stead were teams of government trained baggage examiners. I experienced their scrutiny firsthand, since my metal leg brace set off the security alarm. Of course it did. The electronic device, which stimulates muscle activity, was packed in my carry-on bag, and it drew attention as well. I was impressed with the thoroughness of our nation’s new employees. Today was different.
Activity was at high-pitch at the airport, even in the early morning hour. People of all shapes and sizes, of all nationalities, wandered the airport terminal. Today was the same.
I heard the "meow-meow" of many cats in their pet carriers. Animals and owners were on their way home after participating in a cat show. Today was different.
My last trip was made because my dad had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. After many months, my father had still not received medications for his maladies. Mother was at her wit’s end, trying to deal with her aging spouse. I witnessed my dad’s confusion; I heard him insist that there were children playing behind his recliner. I visited seven months ago because I loved them both and wanted to remind them of that. Perhaps all of my visits have that one basic reason. Today was the same.
Medications have made a huge difference in my father’s health, in his life, and ultimately, in my mom’s life too. We all know that what we’re experiencing now is just a respite from symptoms that will return. Knowing that gives us reasons to celebrate each new day. Today was different.
In April, I stood outside my parents’ home and watched fresh snowflakes fall from the sky. Today, as I sat waiting for my ride, I noticed fresh snow covering car windshields. Michigan was the same in April and November. Today was the same.
In spring, my reasons for visiting were mournful ones. I saw my dad walk the halls at night, unable to sleep. I shuttered, seeing how thin and frail he’d become. He was no longer the robust dad of my past and his. It was a sad time for me. Today, I’ve arrived for our Thanksgiving celebration. My parents, my sisters and their spouses and children will be in attendance. What a joyous time we’ll have, as we give thanks for all of our blessings. Today was different.
There will be no sadness this week, only rejoicing that we have one more holiday to spend together.
Today was the same; today was different. It was both. Same difference.
You never really know how many more holiday celebrations you'll have with loved ones. This was written in 2002. I did have a few more Thanksgiving celebrations with my Dad. He passed away in August, 2005.