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Giving Thanks

This time last year, determinedly cheerful but stretched filament thin caring for my mother who was dying of the illness that took her life in January this year, I made a list of things I was grateful for that included good gin and swiffer dusters. I think I can do better than that this year, though I am in a curiously suspended state between grief, a quite unforced cheeriness, and a practical "lets get on with things" normality.



1. Friends. Definitely friends. Defiantly (as my students will but somewhat appropriately spell it) friends. kp and mkb sitting in the "family" pew beside me at my mother's memorial service and kp's hand reaching out with a kleenex when I couldn't help weeping when the reverend read the words of Tolkien ("a far green country under a swift sunrise") I had written into mum's eulogy. Kelly giving me a Virginia Woolf doll, which was just the right thing. benjieblue's unfailing kindness and generosity of spirit and coming to the hospital with a bright bunch of flowers when I least expected it. My flist, who always seem to be there at the right time. And it was so great to meet some of you in person this year.

2. Coming through. It's been a hard year, I can't deny it, but in some ways last year was harder, because last year things just got worse and worse and this year I have had the chance to recover. That meant going through my mother's death first, of course, and I don't gloss over that. But all those myths about going on a journey through hell and coming out stronger are there for a reason.

3. Having my mother all those years and being able to grieve for her with love and loss but no guilt or remorse or regret.

4. My health! Boy, have I grown to appreciate having a strong healthy body. and of course...

5. My new hip!!!

6. Web 2.0 Where would I be without blogs, Flickr, wikis, etc etc? It has changed so many aspects of my life in more than just technical ways - changed the way I think about community, about teaching, so many things.

7. My garden, which continues to enrich my life as food for body and soul (not so much food for body this year, just a few tomatoes, but it does provide exercise!)

8. Of course, the dogs. Where would I be without them? And there's a continuum of dogs on which these current ones live. Once and future dogs. Dogginess. That will always be with me - and that's a comforting thought.

9. Books.

10. And still - having a great job that I love in a beautiful place to live. Who could beat that?

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