This is a year in which I have a couple of things to be decidedly unthankful for. Namely, the death of my husband and the death – two months later – of my oldest and dearest of friends, Marie.
Yet when I think about it, even these two terrible situations give me some reason for thanks.
I’m thankful that I was with Jim when he died, holding his hand, which I do think eased things for him a bit. I know it did for me.
I’m thankful that, with Jim gone, I had more time to spend with Marie during her last couple of months, and was able to be with her the day before she went into full palliative sedation, no longer able to communicate.
I’m thankful that, later that day, in a final conversation with another old friend of ours, Marie asked Kim whether she thought that she (Marie) would be well enough to go with me to Ireland to bring some of Jim’s ashes. I know that on that day, Marie was in and out of lucidity. She knew, on one level, that she was dying. She told me she was ready, that she wasn’t afraid, that she was just waiting. On the other hand, Marie was still drifting in and out of conversations like the one she had with Kim. I’m just thankful that I was fortunate enough to have a friend so good and dear that, on her death bed, she would be thinking about helping me through my grieving for my husband.
As always – but especially this year – I’m thankful for friends and family. I am extraordinarily lucky in this regard, that’s for sure, as I have been reminded again and again throughout this long year.
As always, I’m thankful for my clients, especially for the ones who have become friends.
As always, I will make my annual appeal for St. Francis House, which has been helping Boston’s poor and homeless rebuild their lives for 30 years now. If you have reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving Day, please consider donating to this wonderful organization.
As always, I’ll put in a link to my last year’s post for this holiday.
Last year, in writing about Jim’s illness, I said:
We remain hopeful, but both weary and wary.
The day after Thanksgiving, some beyond the norm bleeding brought us into the MGH Cancer Center, where we got the word that it was time for hospice and the final countdown.
Never losing his sense of humor, as we left MGH, my husband said that, at this point, it really didn’t seem to make much sense to stay gluten-free. What he really wanted was a hot dog. (Some GF foods are fine, but we never found decent hot dog rolls.) So we went out and had a hot dog.
In last year’s post, I also wrote:
Still, when we received the initial diagnosis for Cancer Number Two in late December 2011, we would have given anything for a couple more years. Which we’ve gotten.
And I am exceedingly thankful for those two years, one month, 18 days.
All in all, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. The only problem is I’m not sure exactly who* to be thankful to. (The atheist’s dilemma.)
*Yes, I know. But “whom” sounds stuffy and awkward.