Thinking About Thanking

Thanksgiving Bounty

Rattle, rattle, rattle, rumble, scrape, scratch…

Jim just trundled across the room.  He’s still using his walker, but he’s pretty much moving at his usual pace.  We’re hoping to see him graduate to a cane pretty soon, and to be able to dispense with pain meds even sooner.

That’s a lot to be thankful for.  My dad died from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease).  When Dad stopped being able to walk, he knew he’d never walk again.  For a man whose idea of fun was to go hiking through his forested property, locate a downed tree, then carry it back to where he could cut it up for firewood, this was hell.  Painkillers couldn’t touch what was hurting him.  He was dying by inches, and all too aware what was happening.  That broke his heart long before the disease had finished breaking his body.

Somehow Thanksgiving has come to be about wanting more, not being thankful for what you have.  The Black Friday promotions for pre-Christmas shopping have a lot to do with this, because, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, the emphasis is on the sales to Get More, not on reflecting on everything you have.

Did you walk to your computer?  Can you pick up your tablet or phone?  Instead of feeling sorry that you can’t get the latest model, think about the wonder that are those fingers that you can move, the legs you can walk on.

If you’re reading this post, you have something to be thankful for.  You can see.  You can read.  You can process information.

These last couple of weeks I’ve been immersed in caregiver mode and, I’ll admit, sometimes I’ve been too tired to think straight. Nonetheless, I’ve also known how lucky I am to be taking care of someone I can expect to get well.  That hasn’t always been the case.  The bulk of caregiving for my dad fell on my sister and brother, though I did what I could.  But, when I was in my early thirties, I cared for my then-partner, Roger Zelazny, through the cancer that killed him.  I was with him when he breathed his last.

But, you know, I’m thankful for that, too, because I was there and Roger was wonderful.  We lost against the cancer.  But we won, too, because we held on to each other til death did us part.  There are worse things.

Things to be thankful for are all around you if you bother to look for them.  The picture with this Wandering features ghost pumpkins that were a gift from our friend, Patricia Rogers.  The turkey pot was made by another friend, Mary Weahkee.  Jim made the wreaths…

Thanksgiving is not about Black Friday, folks.  It’s not about Turkey Day and football games.  Thanksgiving is about taking one day out of the 365 we’re gifted with each year to stop wanting more and take a look at what we have.

I hope you can find things to be thankful about – and if you’re caught in the dark, I hope you can find a way to reach for the light.


8 Responses to “Thinking About Thanking”

  1. Jim Z Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! What a profound and wonderful post.

  2. Beverly Martin Says:

    Thank you for this excellent post! It really touched me and reminded me of what is important! Best wishes to you and Jim!

  3. Svenn Lindskold Says:

    Well done, Jane. I’ve passed it around to family.

  4. Debby Barker Says:

    Thank you for writing this. I had tears in my eyes. Not for what you have gone through — but for what you have kept. You said what I couldn’t express — just recognize for truth when I saw it.

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