I am thankful that I was just able to give my mother a hug… to hold her in my arms… on Thanksgiving morning… and I wish Kateri was here. It took me ten minutes to write that sentence. Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving without my wife. The first Thanksgiving I am spending with my family in years… in at least over a decade… and it’s where I’m supposed to be today. The last seven… nine… eleven… twelve months have been filled with some of the most horribly inexplicable events that I have had to deal with in my life. My mother was diagnosed with lung cancer which spread to her brain. Melanoma took Kateri away from me in four months and three days. There are many things in this life that I am not thankful for, but there are more people, friends, family, and experiences that have been in… or have entered… my life that have given me strength, love and compassion to keep moving forward through this timeline. It’s a strange life to live when your mantra is, ” Well, for being the worst thing I have ever gone through… ever felt… ever experienced… it went as well as it possibly could have.”… and it’s still going.
Only a few of the things that I am thankful for:
- To be held by my mother on this Thanksgiving morning and to be with my family.
- To have friends that genuinely love me… and I love them.
- To have had twenty beautiful years with one of the most truly unique and beautiful people I have ever met… and to have loved that person… to have loved Kateri more than myself, more than anyone else, more than anything else on this planet. That’s what love is.
- To have a home… a cute home… filled with memories of a rich life.
- To have a home… a cute home… to fill with new memories.
- I have a job where I am surrounded by good people who I have formed real relationships with. People who have given me things that I will never be able to repay. People who have given me “time”… and they continue to be there for me.
- Comfy clothes… I am thankful for comfy clothes.
- Lil’ Bitch… she provides me with more than I ever thought a chicken could.
- Neighbors. I never knew the people up and down the road would provide me with such a sense of community. Kateri and I have always said, “Trees make better neighbors!”…. but trees won’t tell you that you’ll be ok.
- To have finished the bathroom where Kateri put the first hole in the wall with my framing hammer… well, have almost finished… 99% finished. I’m taking showers and my toothbrush is up there (in the cup I got for Kateri’s toothbrush when she was in the hospital in February).
- For my woodstove… it keeps me warm… and a place to make s’mores inside the house with truly wonderful people in my life.
- For Vermont and everything it’s about. It’s home.
- For take out Chinese food from gas stations and pizza from wherever.
- For not taking a drink in over twelve years… boy am I thirsty.
- For good weed and coffee… dark, strong, bitter coffee.
- Airplanes… it would have sucked to walk to Idaho… and I wouldn’t have sat next to Janis… she likes to gamble.
- For the generosity of strangers. It strengthens your faith in humanity when we are surrounded by idiots.
- Music… all sorts of music. It is one of those things in life that provides us with what we need when we can’t deal with the silence. It could be Tom Waits in the bath tub, Lady Gaga while shoveling the driveway, or whistling while walking in the woods.
- My guitar… on countless nights at 12:27am (well, for at least the last 210 nights… our relationship changed after Kateri passed away).
- For my families and friends. For Maria, Keith, Michelle, Adie, Matty, Matt, Jake, Todd, Scotty, David, Cristina, Luke, Braedy, Luke, Raph, Tara, Eric, Moose, Chi Chi, Trilla, Anna, Pocker, Pookie, Mary Ann, Tony, Dina, Tom, Jacob, Jared, Josh, Sadie, Jason, Gil, Sarah, Soren, Paul, Justin, The Levesques, The Owens, Amanda, Jessica, the kitchen (Jeremy, Margot, and many more), KAF, Paul, Rob, Burlington Hearth and Penny Cluse. For all of their families… husbands, wives, and children. For the countless number of other friends in my life that have loved me and my wife.
- For my father.
- For my mom.
It’s Thanksgiving. It’s just one day. Remember the important things to be thankful for in life when tomorrow comes, because some of them may not be there anymore… but you will be.