Today I am thinking of aging, grief and blessings.
My EYES have seen the physical and mental dings in the armor that happen to a person in the face of grief. My HANDS have helped the strongest man I know zip his sweatshirt and tie his shoes. My HEART has mourned a life taken too soon. (Happy Birthday to my brother tomorrow who passed away in 2013.)
In my head these separate wounds dance and swirl about as one tornado of hurt as I engage in my day to day life, always on the fringes of my thoughts. A weight of sadness, and yet a reminder to be present and appreciative of my blessings.
It has always been in my personality to feel deeply empathetic to the pain and troubles of others. Emotions draw quickly on my energy and mood and cause ruminations that distract and muddy the waters of other things I’m feeling at that moment. This empathy allows me to enjoy solitude, and quiet and my own thoughts. Sometimes it makes the holidays too busy for my mental health. This empathy, it is my superpower, and my weakness.
This Thanksgiving I challenge you to let go of the unimportant things and focus on the people in your life. The tablecloth might be wrinkled and the china could be cracked but those things don’t matter. What does matter is the blessing of the food on the table, the company you are keeping, the joy you are sharing just by being present.
I say this because I am currently experiencing the great thief of time and memory, Alzheimer’s disease. It is slowly taking my dad away from me and making me very sentimental about family gatherings. In fact, age related illness is actually happening all around me in my family this past few years and I hate it. I’d like to press rewind, and “undo” but as you know, this isn’t an option. I can’t take back any of the holidays when I was grumpy and rushed and stressed. I plan to enjoy this holiday even more than usual. I can’t help but wonder if my dad will even remember me by next November.
So this holiday season, give a tighter, slower hug to someone and a longer blessing at the table. Drink the wine and eat the slice of pie and worry less about the decorations and the stress of getting there, or the diet you might be on. In fact, eat the whole pie while holding the hand of someone you love and take a photo and hold it in your heart.
Thanks for reading!