Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be grateful. No gifts to wrap. No cards to send. Just sharing a meal with family and friends. That’s why it is my favorite holiday. Dwight, for you, it’s a time to bask in an array of kitchen aromas while patiently waiting for a morsel of turkey to grace your dinner bowl. For me, this Thanksgiving marks a 10 year anniversary. I don’t usually like to look back, but I think I need to honor the past this year.
You see, 10 years ago on Thanksgiving, I was in a power wheelchair, eating my evening meal at Ted’s Montana Grill, outside The Shepherd Center in Atlanta. John was there, as well as the boys, who had flown down to spend the long weekend with us. I remember my wheelchair would not fit under a standard table, so the waitress quickly steered us to a tall table. My iced tea glass was so heavy, I couldn’t lift it with my one functioning hand, so I bent my head to the straw to drink. John cut my food into bite size pieces, which allowed me to feed myself. I remember the things unsaid. The boys faces; stoic and unreadable. I remember the sadness that settled in my gut, making swallowing difficult. I wanted to be a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister again. I just wanted “normal.” But I knew that was not realistic.
Despite all this, I found much to be grateful for. I was outside the walls of the Rehab Center with all my boys. No longer on a ventilator, I was making good progress with Physical and Occupational Therapies. I had befriended some amazing people at Shepherd who were overcoming tremendous obstacles. We held each other up as we found laughter and solace in the simplest of things. I was deeply touched and forever changed by those who lost their battles. They continue to inspire me.
Gratitude has helped me through some difficult times, Dwight. This Thanksgiving, I will be standing in my kitchen, preparing the food that I shopped for, while sharing the bounty with John. And you, of course. We have much to be thankful for. Sadly, there will not be any other family members at the table. But I am grateful that they are all well and staying home to help tame this Pandemic.
I am thankful for memories. What a blessing to be able to recall the people, places and moments that have shaped my life. I won’t dwell on the past, but I will honor it’s importance. I am grateful I can recognize mistakes, count blessings and learn from both.
I am thankful to have you in my life, D. You make me laugh every single day. You are the best personal trainer. We always get a walk or two in, regardless of the weather. Thanks for that, buddy.
Fall is a season of gratitude. Perhaps if we all find some, the world will thank us in return. May we all carry our bounty of blessings into the winter to keep us warm and grateful.