Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday's Thoughts: Thanksgiving Turned Upside Down

A week from today is Thanksgiving. Two weeks ago today, a good friend of mine died. She fought a brave fight against a cancer that would not be conquered, and finally lost that fight. Yesterday, at ten o'clock in the morning, one of my two very best friends died, suddenly and unexpectedly.

Just a few days before that, she had come over to give me a special gift, for no real reason...just to be giving. A beautiful little angel, dressed in white with red mittens on uplifted hands, and a cute red stocking cap on her head. When you turned her upside down, her hands and the end of the stocking cap made feet upon which sat her body...she was a cup.

Today, I can't look at that angel-cup without crying. And I can't help thinking, How can I be thankful this Thanksgiving, when a good friend and another one whom I loved greatly are both gone?

Several days ago, my other best friend who lives far from me in Montana, wrote a post about the "Tiny Pluses in a Minus World," and as I read that post, I realized that it is up to me to find those pluses in my world, no matter how tiny they might be.

It hasn't been easy. Especially today, when I am still reeling from Jackie's death. Jackie was Italian, from a typically large family, and she always had many stories to tell about "growing up Italian." They always put me in tears, either because they were so poignant I cried, or because they were so hilarious I laughed until I cried. But those stories, and their storyteller, are some of the pluses in my world.  I may forget her stories, but never will I forget her.

Publishing has been a long journey, and a difficult one, at best. With so much bad news around me, it has been almost impossible to enjoy the fact that, yes, I am a published book author. Yet, I know that it is a plus, and far from a tiny one. I just need to take the time to recognize that fact and take pleasure in it. After all, Jackie was one of my biggest supporters, and she was super-excited when the publishing day came around.

My beloved husband is on the mend again, and oh what a HUGE plus that is! To have him at home, to know that he is getting better and stronger each day, means more to me than anything else in the world.

My children, my son, even though he no longer recognizes me as his mother, and my daughter who lives 300 miles away, are two of the biggest pluses in my life, as are my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren. Yet, they are the "obvious" pluses, and sometimes, we fail to realize that those closest to us are the most important "pluses" we could ever have. Sometimes we think we must search out that which seems almost ephemeral for it to be a real "plus" in our lives.

Still, I can't help but feel that Thanksgiving this year has been turned upside down. We have much to feel thankful for, but also much that has happened at this time of year that we still question, and wonder, "How do I give thanks for this?" This has been a "minus" year of great note for my family, and I think we all are wondering, "What will I give thanks for at the dinner table, when it comes my turn?" Yet, the pluses are there. We just need to look for them.

How about you? Has this year been one of more minuses than pluses? And how do you go about finding the pluses in your life, even if has been a good year?

Until next time,
That's a wrap.