Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Question for Cancer Patient:  "How are you doing this year?"

Answer:  "Better than the turkey!"

Once again, it is time to gather around the table with a thankful heart.  Thanksgiving in our family is still about sharing life's bounty with those we feel closest to; with our friends and our family; it is not about buying low-end electronics at a cheap price.  At least, not yet, and I hope it never is.

This year, my biggest thanks is that Kurt is receiving a marrow transplant. Yes folks, he found a donor. He has a second shot at life and living many Happy Thanksgivings with his family and loved ones.  That is #1 on my gratitude list.

I'm also thankful that my friend James' dog is on the road to recovery.  The poor pup has been sick for three months and had a surgery and is now doing well.   As a dog lover, I know how hard it is to have an animal in distress and I'm glad he's healing.  My dogs, obnoxious as they may be, bring me lots of joy.

And I am thankful for my many friends and family who have come through for me during this difficult year, in big ways and small ones.  The meals, the cards, the emails, the texts, the small gifts, the understanding, the knowledge that I may not been seen daily but am not forgotten  - I am thankful for all of it.  I am thankful to you who read my blog, who have come to know me, who care. When I started this blog, I never thought anybody but immediate family would see it.  Now I have friends from all over the world.

I am thankful for having a wonderful husband who takes on my duties without complaint, and listens to my many complaints without getting annoyed (or at least, sharing with me that annoyance.)  And, for my wonderful sons, who changed my life.  I am thankful for the people they are, and who I know they will become.  I don't have to be there to know that they will be honorable, good men for as long as their lives last.

Thanksgiving has always been special to me.  I remember my early days as a mom with a young baby, trying my hand at some of these dishes for the first time, eventually being able to cook our traditional feast expertly.  By the time I married and had my second child, I was feeding 20 people from a tiny kitchen in an easy bake oven-sized oven, and people patted their swelling stomachs and asked for thirds.  Although I had some stressful moments during the preparation,  I was always grateful for the family who surrounded me, for the ability I had to cook this meal, for being able to provide it,  for the sound of squealing children clamoring for more pie.  Unless I had no choice and no room at all, there was no kids table - everybody got a seat at the main table.

This year, my energy is down and pain is up.  I will have fewer people, and I will only make a few dishes, but I am still having family over.  I am buying most of the meal, turkey and sides, from Whole Foods, but will make things special to our family:  a coleslaw that was my mother's recipe,  a chocolate pie, that green bean casserole which is my son's favorite.  While it feels like cheating to buy a turkey, stuffing, gravy and yams, there is no chance that I can stand on my feet and cook for two days as in years past, so instead, I am grateful that I live near a store like Whole Foods that sells these delicious meals that taste like homemade, and can do most of the work for me.

When you have my illness, thoughts cross your mind like shadows: "Is this my last Thanksgiving?"  You have to push those thoughts away because they will crowd out the reason for the day.  It doesn't matter if I am here next year, all that matters is that I am here now.

Last year looked like my last too.  This time last year, c-diff was bubbling in my intestines, making me sick.  I managed to get a meal on the table and even smile, but inside I was deathly ill, and the minute people left I went to bed and that night I had gone septic.  I ended up in the ICU, with pseudomembraneous colitis, almost losing my colon and my life.  Recovery was very long and very difficult - it took months for any normality to return.

But I recovered.  Here I am, celebrating yet another Thanksgiving.  I will once again see my younger son choose dark meat, my older son will kiss his girl and crack up the table with his quick wit, and my step-daughter will talk about something esoteric.  We may play a board game, or sit at the table two hours past the pie and coffee, chatting.   We will will be, yet again, a family. Although not all will be with us, all will be remembered.

And so it will be with me, someday, when I am gone.  I imagine that the family will still gather, that a glass will be lifted to my memory.  I hope they don't all float off  in different directions, like dandelion seeds.  But, I suppose that is inevitable when the matriarch is gone.

But, enough of that.  I am so thankful for that I am still here to enjoy this glorious sunshiney day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you.

Back to making that pie.


  1. I wish you the best Thanksgiving! I'm so glad you are able to celebrate with your family!

  2. I too am thankful you are here to celebrate Ann! You are an awesome lady.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you Ann from across the water. May you and your family have a lovely day and enjoy every minute of being able to celebrate together. Your thoughts for your family, as usual, sum up exactly my thoughts for my own son. God Bless.

  4. Ann

    What a beautiful post. Many many thanksgiving good wishes all the way from Scotland to you and yours. I give thanks that you're my friend.


  5. Hi Ann,
    What can I say? This is just beautifully written. I am thankful that you had that day and have seen your sons grow up and you know they will never forget you. You will always be an influence on them, as you have been in the past. I am glad you're still here and wish you all the best. I too, am a breast cancer 'survivor'and realize more than ever that not one of us is guaranteed anything when it comes to how long we live. Make every day count...and I am sure that you do!

  6. Wonderful post, Ann! That thought crossed my mind too, "Will this be my last Thanksgiving." You are so right; you miss out on all the blessings if you're focused on that. It's great that you are able to focus on today. That's what it's all about.

  7. Hello again from Mt Hood -- Our son-in-law cooked this year -- pulling the turkey out of the oven, carving it up, he said "What is this PLASTIC thing in here?" He didn't know there was a neck and giblet packet inside the bird! We'll remember that more than if good old Mom cooked, won't we...
    The kids did it all! Wow. I got to wash the dishes!

  8. I am glad you will be able to just enjoy your holiday. I bought my Christmas Dinner last year from Metro Mart as I was only two weeks post BMX. Everyone loved it, I didn't have to worry, and it didn't make a bit of difference to our celebration. So enjoy, it do worth it. this year, my daughter is doing thanksgiving for us.


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