It's here. First Thanksgiving without my mother. Because I know it will be terrible, awful, horrible, no-good, and very bad, and because I cannot duplicate her dressing, my sister and I have decided to go out to Thanksgiving dinner instead of cooking while grieving. We will be going to a semi-traditional buffet at a local Irish pub; if you have to mourn someone's absence at a major holiday, you might as well do it somewhere that has Guinness on tap.
Despite my prediction that even Guinness and pub-fries-instead-of-mashed-potatoes will not fix this upcoming fourth Thursday in November, I would be remiss not to stop and give thanks. It's been a bad year, but more than ever, I am aware that I have many, many blessing to count.
For I would be a red-hot mess right now if it weren't for the people in my life.
This year I am thankful for...
Angels disguised as oncology nurses.
The group of teachers who pitched in and bought me gift cards to restaurants to use the weeks after the funeral, so that when I was having a bad day I at least didn't have be in my kitchen.
My husband, who is the best person I know.
My daughter, without whom I wouldn't want to get out of bed most mornings.
The friends who, in my times of need, bring beer, bourbon, books, and cookie bars.
The friend who read the eulogy I didn't have the voice for at the funeral.
The friend who sang at the funeral.
The friend who put a big, metal chicken on my doorstep. (This also happens to be the friend who sang, so I am doubly thankful for her.)
Our neighbors, who treat our kid like she's one of their own.
Justin Cronin, who has written my two favorite books of the past 5 years.
Jenny Lawson, whose memoir made me laugh when I didn't think laughter was possible.
My grief counselor, who gave me her cell number and encourages me to text on bad days. It's like getting a free 5-minute session when I need it.
And finally--the dozen or so of you who will read this. Thank you for letting me know I have an audience.
I know that for so many of us Thanksgiving is just a quick pit-stop on the Polar Express, a place we stop to fuel up before the Christmas shopping and decorating season. But do take a moment to stop and give thanks especially if, like me, you are surrounded by really great people.
Love you guys. Mean it.