It's Canadian Thanksgiving again.
Happens every year around this time.
Although we don't have a formal family celebration, I like the concept of being thankful.
I try (and usually succeed) to dwell on the positive aspects of life.
I spent much of my first four decades bemoaning what was missing, wanting what I couldn't have, and seeing the glass half-empty.
I don't mean that in relation to material things but in relation to what I needed from people, be it my parents, childhood friends, or later, lovers.
Did I need too much? Maybe. Probably. It's hard to say from this vantage point.
Somewhere along the way I got tired of looking elsewhere for support and comfort and learned to stand on my own feet.
That is the biggest comfort of all, to know that I can handle things.
I don't know quite when my outlook changed but it probably had to do with the antidepressants, which I've been taking for eight years now.
When things start to look bleak, I focus on what's good.
Good things are surprisingly easy to find; top of my list is the kids.
Second would be my health (touch wood!)
After that are friends, music, books, computers, the internet, trees, cats, penguins, blankets, and of course ice cream.
Not necessarily in that order.
In my first Thanksgiving entry, two years ago, I had "my freedom, both personal and political" on the list; last year I added "a sense of social and financial security".
It seems like a very long time ago that we were able (or thought we were able) to take those for granted.
I have my personal freedom, even more than I did before; but armies are fighting yet again for our political freedom and sense of security.
Two years ago I was thankful that my father was alive and well; last year, that he was alive.
I am still thankful for my father. Thankful that I had almost fifty years with him; that he had a long, full life, and especially thankful for the last night I spent with him.
That night has remained with me but not as a source of pain, rather as a source of comfort. It was kind of a mystical experience, in the hospital after midnight, holding my father's hand, trying to keep the oxygen tube in his nose, and sensing the ghosts in the room.
I know that my aunt, my father's oldest sister, was there. But she didn't pay attention to me; she was concentrating on him and his transition.
Others were swirling around; there were also living people there, particularly Hubby, who sat quietly behind me, and the patient in the next bed, who was not at all happy about having someone dying in his room.
I'm glad I got to tell my father I loved him, one more time while he was able to hear it; and that the other people who were important to him loved him too.
I am also thankful for my stepsisters, who are seeing that my father's second wife, who I suspect was the great love of his life, is as well cared for as she can be, given her various medical conditions and developing Alzheimer's.
Finally I am thankful that I have reached the age of fifty, while looking forty (well maybe forty-five) and feeling eighteen.
What if you took a survey and nobody answered?
Well happily that isn't the case.
Answers have appeared in the following journals: (in no particular order)
And more are trickling in via email.
Complete results, including my own answers, in the next entry.