I’m not posting my usual blog this week, as I prepare for a New York Thanksgiving and all that goes with that. I love this time of the year, there’s a brisk chill in the air, with scents of the season to come, filled with great expectations, for some, big, for others, small.
This year, in the Northeast, it has been quite warm for November, as we have yet to have had our first frost, but still I appreciate this time which prompts memories of days gone by, always spent with my family.
We were larger then, my dad still alive, Chuck too. All the children, nieces and nephews were around and some cousins and great aunts and uncles along with and my nana.We looked forward to playing board games after dinner or various parlor games played with family that got the competitive juices going.We made a lot of noise, sometime my sister played the piano, and grandchildren ran around my parents’ apartment, doing noisy, funny things, like hiding under my parents’ bed while grandpa searched for them. He didn’t think it was a game, but Karla and Karim did.We ate and drank surrounded by love and good cheer.
Family, I love my family and even as the numbers have diminished, I am so grateful to have had them and have them still. Thanksgiving dinner has gone from twenty to a mere four with the occasional plus two.
Now, everyone in my family is scattered all over the United States from the West Coast to the South, celebrating with families of their own. In recent years, since Chuck’s been gone, I’ve felt his absence during this time but I still love this season nonetheless. When all is said and done Thanksgiving on a smaller scale, has forced me to reflect on what I’m truly grateful for: my family,my now family: my mother, my brothers, my sister, my beloved son Karim.They are the ones who’ve helped to lift my spirits during my darkest days and helped to keep me going, Even if some didn’t really understand what I was going through, they stood by me nonetheless. It may be smaller and quieter, but they’re still here and they’re the foundation of my being. When I hear New York’s meteorologist Janice Huff’s report on Wednesday’s Child, the most important desire that each child expresses is to be a part of a loving family.This wish reminds me of how many people will never experience that because of a variety of unfortunate circumstances.
No matter the distance, we remain close, and when duty calls, as my friend Monique says, “all hands on deck,” as we’re there for each other through thick and thin.
No matter how rich or how poor, all families experience loss, illness, disappointments, and through it all many stick together to get through the toughest of times. No families are immune to the down side of life. In fact, those who have the least among us, are often more grateful for having each other. Money can never buy that and although it can make life easier in many ways, it is a human construct, and it cannot prevent life’s challenges and the tough times that befall us all.
I know that my husband was in my life to help me become who I am now. I believe I was destined to have become a widow at some point had I married others who are now deceased, but it was Chuck who was meant to share this journey with me. It was a God ordained connection, that helped us both to fulfill our individual purpose. He helped me and I helped him; that is what I believe.
I’m astounded by the insights and revelations I’ve had over these recent years, like the Mark Twain quote: “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” My family, my maternal grandmother who did laundry for a living, my paternal grandmother who taught school and wrote and published her work, are a part of my DNA, and they laid the foundation for those of us who have come after.And now I know why I was born, but so many, stuck in a hamster-wheel,never find out why.
It is for all this that I give thanks –my life, a new understanding about the importance of giving oneself permission to live an authentic life, and for you, my dear friends old and new, my beautiful family, my extended family,my BFFs who are like sisters and brothers to me,you are a part of the fulfillment of my destiny.
I hope, in some way, that my written words, are helping you to discover the meaning of your life and if so I am grateful for that too.
This Thanksgiving, 2016, I hosted more than five and we shared stories and good cheer with each other. My brother Anthony made the turkey, my brother Emil helped me in the kitchen and my son Karim made us all laugh with his uncanny ability to see humor in all things great and not so great. Everyone contributed to the success of the day. We also shared our blessings with each other. I’m so grateful for the continued illumination of my spirit. I have been thrust into a new life and have learned many things from the people in my life including my mom who’s still at the helm. Although some are here for only a season, I’m so thankful for these teachers. Our experiences with each other help to inform the daily self-expression of who we are and how we continue on our journey.We strive to be good, do better and manifest the expression of our souls. I’m learning so much about life and am grateful to everyone who has traveled this way with me. I’ve never given up and can finally see a new horizon within reach, and it is ,indeed, a new beginning.
Happy Thanksgiving 2016
Read more about grief and recovery after loss in Brave in a New World: A Guide to Grieving the Loss of a Spouse available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all other e-booksellers.