The Holidays

Trying to find the thanks in Thanksgiving

Family dinner

This will be the first Thanksgiving I have spent alone.

And before anyone thinks about jumping in their car to come and relieve any perceived suffering, I don’t mean alone in that walk around the apartment in your son’s boxer shorts snorting Cherry Garcia ice-cream kind of way. (Not that I’ve done that.)

And there was some wild thinking around 3am when the good drugs had worn off about transporting myself and surprising one of the four children – all of whom are scattered across different parts of this globe. But which to choose? The one on the oil rig, the two on different campuses or the one in a fancy schmancy city office?

As I rose to make coffee and ponder the validity of such a plan, my left breast fell on the floor so, again, breast cancer continued to make decisions around here. The decision to maybe do what the surgeon advised as a plan rather than me and my breast turning up unannounced to scare grown-up children.

But this is not a depressing Thanksgiving. A little disappointing, yes, but we can always make up for that lost time at Christmas, God willing.

And, yes, we should all be very thankful that the news yesterday was as positive as it was. A small breast cancer which three weeks of radiotherapy should take care of doesn’t sound like the best news to those who have not been on this ‘journey’ with me, but compared to the gun barrel I was looking down, I should be immensely grateful.

Except, I haven’t felt as grateful as… as what? I dunno.

Angry? Tick. / Pissed off? Tick. / Grateful? Not really.

Until that is I call my Cousin Sara in California at 3.40am my time this Thanksgiving morning and we get onto the subject of death. Not the depressing kind of death, but a discussion about what we would have engraved on our headstones. (Maybe you had to be there.) Anyway, I had always thought I would have some witticism engraved on mine or some other vanity-laden narrative to convey the personality I had been to remind loved ones of the me that was alive and vibrant.

But in the hour-and-a-half talking to Sara I not only understood why I have been so angry these long weeks (it is because I have this thing where I don’t like people to worry about me), but also in a complete moment of clarity why I should be grateful this Thanksgiving day, and exactly what I should have engraved on any headstone when I eventually leave this earth and it is simply:

“I was loved.”

Happy Thanksgiving.