This time of year is really difficult for me. Until the winter of 2016, though, it was the happiest for me. I love Thanksgiving, the build up and preparation for Christmas, the promise of a new year.
2016, though, brought pain, loss, and doubt. But today I am choosing not to make this day one of loss. For this cheerful soul, it’s a surprisingly difficult task. But, there is much for which I am thankful.
The people who loved me then, love me now. Real love is like that. We can be found flowing in and out of each other’s lives, checking in, making sure we’re alright, sharing laughter and only sometimes a melancholy moment.
The people who love me now only know the now me, and they seem to think that’s ok. Real love is also like that. I have dear friends I have never met in “real life.” A whirling dervish of an advocate who makes me feel tired, guilty, and motivated just being in her ambit. A smart, irreverent photographer who challenged me the first time we met, who challenges me still, to stand up for myself and who I am. I am blessed with tai chi friends, boxing friends and dancing friends. Painting friends, sketching friends, designing friends, and volunteering friends. So many lovely, giving, kind people I would not have otherwise had the chance to meet.
My sons, sister, and brother, and their families. Always with me, their quiet presence ready to help should th e need arise. My sons, whose name in the family is “The Boys,” should now be called “The Men.” They are boys no longer, having lived through my injury, recovery, and return to them as strongly and lovingly as I would expect from grandsons of my parents. Real love is like that, too.
I am still standing. Well, ok, sometimes I am standing, other times I am sitting. Still other times I am dancing. Parkinson’s is a difficult disease to regulate, and the stressors – illness, surgery, tests yielding only partial diagnoses, the coronavirus, and COVID-19 – have been crashing over me like plunging waves on a steep dark coastline. They have taken their toll, but I am keeping body and soul together, giving myself permission to fall apart occasionally, chiding myself to “Suck it up, buttercup.” And the next thing I know I’m laughing.
And so at the end, I guess Love … Love is what I am thankful for.