They say it takes three years to recover from grief. It is not yet quite three years since my mum died, and I've had two more losses this year, but overall I feel better now than I have in a long time. I seem to have found what I always wanted: not great joy or passion or "feeling-happy-all-the-time" but a sense of peace and contentment. I feel at last that I am where I am meant to be. Of course, there are regrets - no child, no "great love," I'll never win an Oscar or an Olympic medal or the Nobel Prize. But I don't seem to mind much any more. I look forward to the future with quiet pleasure rather than excitement, and that's nice. Meanwhile, I have some great and specific things that fill me with gratitude.
I'm grateful that this year I buried my father. In one way, literally - his ashes had been sitting in a cupboard since his death 22 years ago, and I finally found a good place to put them. But also figuratively. I have allowed myself to face how ill he was and how much that coloured my childhood and young adulthood and my whole life really, and I have managed not just to face it but to move beyond it. I will always be grateful to my dear lidocafe for being there that day and listening and giving me back myself.
And I'm grateful for all my friends, old and new, young and old, "real" and virtual (though that's not a distinction, for you are all "real").
I'm grateful for my terrific job that I love, and that I have come back to what's meaningful there, too, and it's good.
I'm grateful for books and movies and music and gardens and photography and the promise of exotic places and all the things that keep life interesting and amusing.
Although I lost two of my three animal friends this year, I'm grateful for the company of animals, and for the continuing steadfast loyalty of Robinson.
I'm grateful for good food and for the fact that my income level is high enough that I can afford organic turkeys and new crop hazelnuts and salad greens from the farm up the road and raspberries and creme fraiche and good wine and all the other wonderful things we enjoyed in our feast last night. I eat well not just at Thanksgiving but every day, and I'm grateful for that bounty.
So happy Thanksgiving to all. Let's draw our tattered cloaks for warmth around ourselves and tuck ourselves in for the winter.
And louder sing.