Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Gratitude and Joy

Thought for the day:  I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness--- it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude. [Brene Brown]


 Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. For a number of years, this drawing, along with my silly Thanksgiving poem, provided an easy-peasy starting point for a blog post to celebrate this time of the year. A good way to ease into the Holiday season with a smile.

But this year feels different.

Because it is.

This year is different in many ways, not just for me, but for all of you, as well. How do we give thanks when the entire world is being swamped by the third... and largest... wave of this relentless pandemic? When our healthcare workers are being overwhelmed by the sheer number of patients, by their own exhaustion, and by what must be utter frustration at the number of people who still refuse to wear a damned mask?  

How do we rejoice when we're still isolated, for the most part, from our families and friends? How do I rejoice without my husband? How do you rejoice without that special person you may have lost this year? How do we keep smiling through our tears?

                                           One day at a time... one blessing at a time. 

image courtesy of Unsplash
It's been four months since my husband died, and I must admit, it's still sinking in that he's truly gone... and each time that soul-sucking reality punches me in the gut, it knocks the wind out of me all over again. Yes, it brings tears to my eyes, but not for long. What good will tears do?

Far better to concentrate on the many blessings that still remain. We can spend all of our time lamenting what is gone... what has changed... or we can choose to accept our circumstances and be grateful for the many good things remaining. Goodness and joy are still all around us... we just have to look away from our sadness and anxiety and pay better attention. 



I betcha turkeys are finding it easier to be grateful this year, eh? Especially the really big ones. Not much demand for 20-something pound turkeys when our gatherings will be so much smaller. My daughter, her husband and a family friend will be sharing Thanksgiving dinner with me... but no turkey. Not even a little one. It almost feels like blasphemy to have something other than turkey, but Mike was the big turkey-and-all-the-fixings fan in our family, and it seems almost disrespectful to go through all the hoopla without him. So we won't. New beginnings. New traditions. We'll eat lighter fare, and we'll enjoy each other's company. And we'll shoot pool. Maybe play some board games. The one thing I'll try not to do is cry. Laughter is so much better for the soul. 

For all of you, I wish much joy and laughter, too. Whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving or just enjoying a regular run-of-the-mill Thursday, I wish you a grateful heart and many blessings. In spite of everything, life is still good. Different, yes. But still good. I am soooooo grateful for my kids... my friends... you. Hang in there, people. We've got this.


y

                                         Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.




46 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post, I do sometimes need reminding to be thankful for what is, not wish for what I can't have. I don't do thanksgiving and don't like turkey either, I'm sure many turkeys will be happy to hear that.

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    1. We all need to be reminded from time to time. It's easier to get lost in our own pain than it is to realize we aren't the only ones suffering, and it's easier to mourn the hollow losses in our lives than it is to actively seek new joys. I honestly believe noticing and appreciating the goodness and beauty in our lives helps move us forward. Helps us survive.

      On behalf of all the turkeys in the world, I thank you. :)

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  2. Keep smiling, however hard it is! We are all in a bad situation just now, and your year has been one f great loss, too. I hope things will get better soon, stay thankful. Hugs, Valerie

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    1. I will... same to you. It's a sobering thought to think that millions and millions of people all over the world are suffering through bad times right now. I hope and pray that this global crisis leads us to a renewed sense of empathy and brotherhood.

      Hugs back atcha.

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  3. I most certainly wear a bra when I cook.
    And yes, gratitude and thankfulmess are gifts which keep giving. And giving.
    Don't try and stop the tears. I am pretty certain that if they fall they will be sandwiched in laughter. Which is as it should be.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and to your family. Every day of every year.

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    1. Part of me thinks it might be helpful to let myself cry and howl, but so far, I haven't let myself do that. I'm afraid if I start, I'll never stop. Better for me to wipe away the stray tear and keep smiling. The kids need me to be okay, and Mike would expect me to keep on keeping on.

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  4. Whatever you are eating for Thanksgiving, may you enjoy it and the company of your family. There are still many things to be grateful for.

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    1. Thank you. And a very Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

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  5. Lovely post and a good reminder to be grateful for what we do have in family, etc. New traditions, a few tears, plenty of laughs - have a good Thanksgiving, my friend. 2020 style.

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    1. Thanks, sweetie. I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving... in spite of the 2020 style. Take care.

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  6. Hi Susan ... how fowl! Wonderful cartoons ... you have that wonderful sense of humour that comes over ... love it.

    So pleased you're having a different Thanksgiving with your daughter and family ... enjoy and you'll have time for some great memories, as well no doubt as a little-lot of sadness ... remembering those Turkey days ... take care - stay safe ... and have a peaceful time ... Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary.

      Yes, you're right. There's gonna be some sadness, but that's part of life. If we choose to love... and I do... we have to endure the pain of loss, as well.

      Wishing you all the best. Stay safe!

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  7. Susan, sometimes tears are needed. When they want to come, let them come, just don't let them define you.

    This has been an awful year in so many ways, but you're right, there is still so much to be grateful for. Stay strong!

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    1. Ian, you're probably right. I'd never allow tears to define me, but I haven't learned how to let them fall yet, either. In due time.

      You stay strong, too... and stay safe.

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    2. Yup .... I agree - but it will happen in its own time ... lots of thoughts from this side of the pond ... xoxo

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  8. No matter what there is still a lot to be thankful for. It's different this year for all of us. Not the same yet still a day to be thankful. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!

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    1. Yes, there is always something to be thankful for. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, too.

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  9. Still thinking of you every day at around 1700 hrs, friend Sue. Done so since your Mike became sick. And don't be afraid to cry and howl ... Sending love, cat.

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    1. Thank you, sweetie. I guess I am a little afraid to let myself cry and howl. Maybe what I need to do is go to the middle of nowhere, and let myself scream. Just scream and let it all out. Hmmm, or is it possible that it's ever truly "all out?" Some pain stays forever, I reckon, and becomes a permanent part of who we are. As long as we don't allow it to be the biggest part. Life goes on. Take care and stay safe. Sending love and hugs right back atcha.

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    2. I live in the middle of nowhere, after my baby Jenny died, that's exactly what I did ... go out there and cry and scream. Doubt it helped in the long run, but it helped for a while. I also worked on a granite rock, and bit by bit carved her name and a rose in it. It will be there under that spruce tree even after I'm long gone. And someone will find it and wonder about it. Her name was Jennifer Rose. Sending hugs. cat.

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    3. It may not have helped in the long run, but then again, maybe it did. Being able to scream and vent those feelings must provide some catharsis. The last week or so before Mike died was pretty awful, and once particularly trying day, I slammed a few doors and did a little bit of yelling. It helped! (Mike was deaf, but not wearing his hearing aids, so my venting didn't bother him.) I dunno why I haven't been able to vent like that since losing him.

      It's wonderful that you created that memorial rock for your baby girl. I hope seeing it gives you some peace.

      Take care. Sending hugs right back atcha.

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  10. I hope your daughter can keep your spirits up tomorrow. Although if there are tears, it's okay.

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    1. My daughter and her hubby ... and their friend... helped make the day a good one. I hope your Thanksgiving was special, too.

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  11. Okay, I'm over here rolling at your turkey cartoon! Love your medley of common sense, sincere wishes and gentle humor. I suspect Tom would have preferred turkey 'all the way', but bowed to my choice of smoked brisket.
    BTW, I just came from reading a blog authored by a lady who lost her own hubby unexpectedly 4 months ago. Like your own words, I'm struck by Jilda's focus on gratitude and joy. (http://jildawatson.blogspot.com/)

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    1. Smoked brisket? That sounds pretty darned good! We had Honey-baked ham and all the fixings. It was great. But, alas, no turkey carcass to make turkey noodle soup... (Reason enough to buy a little bit of turkey in the very near future...)

      Thanks for letting me know about Jilda.

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  12. After the rain comes sun - the warmth the same even if the view is changed xx wishing you fun!

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    1. Yes, you're right, of course. No matter how bad the storm or how deep the floodwaters, the sun always returns eventually. I hope lots of sunshine is filling your days. Take care, and I'm wishing you lots of fun, too. :)

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  13. When my baby daughter Nicole died before Christmas thing look different and strange as life goes on. The sun comes up, the sky is blue, the stars shine, people walk talk and laugh and you wonder what about me my heart is broken. But you go on I had a young child to take care of.
    I did scream and cry in the shower.
    I hope you can find some peace in the coming days.
    parsnip xx

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    1. That's it, isn't it? It's surreal to have the daily trappings of life continue as before, as though everything is still the same... but it isn't, and never will be. Remember that song from the '60s called "The End of the World?" It really nailed it: "I wake up in the morning and I wonder why everything's the same as it was. I can't understand; no, I can't understand why life goes on the way it does." Losing a child has to be the most painful loss of all, but losing her right before Christmas must've made things even harder for you. You've endured and survived so many tragedies, dear lady. I mean this in the most complimentary way: you're one tough broad.

      I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving.

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  14. You posted some great funnies. I have to share the pop-up timer one with my kids. You have such a great attitude for having lost your spouse so recently. I lost mine almost 14 years ago. It hurts me still.

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    1. Four months... fourteen years... I don't think the hurt will ever go away entirely or we'll ever stop missing our husbands.

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  15. With every passing year it seems more difficult finding things to be thankful for - but they still exist, hidden among the annoying mire.

    I'm a diehard traditionalist and love to eat turkey, but this year I bought a ham (perhaps turkey for Christmas??).
    I suppose the most important thing is to have peace and contentment within ourselves.
    Wishing a happy and blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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    1. There's still plenty of things around to be grateful for, but sometimes it requires a willful awareness to enable us to recognize them. It isn't easy to shove Godzilla-sized worries and sadness out of our way so we can see past them to the roses.

      We had ham, too. The only downside of that is... no leftover turkey. Guess I'm gonna end up buying a small turkey, after all...

      I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too. With tons of peace and contentment.

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  16. Yeah, there is a lot of upheaval this way and that. Sometimes one needs to cry or whine or what have you to realize is does little good and have to keep on keeping on indeed. No matter how much it stinks to.

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    1. Yep, we've gotta keep on trucking, even if it feels like we aren't getting anywhere.

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  17. Your positivity is amazing - just as I predicted it would be! Have a super Thanksgiving. As you will know Susan, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK, but maybe we should. Christmas is the big thing here but it has become further and further removed from being a religious festival. Everyone celebrates it, irrespective of religion or culture!
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s ultimately unthinkable Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. With as crazy as this year has been, a lot more non-Christians may be decorating for Christmas... just to cheer themselves up and add some brightness to their world.

      Oh, I've watched several episodes of "Afterlife," and you're right. I DO like it. :)

      Take care.

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  18. Thank you for this post, Susan. You always manage to make me smile and, at the same time, remind me to be grateful and to be as positive as possible.

    I hope your holiday was as good as it could be.

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    1. Our Thanksgiving was lovely. I hope yours was, too. )

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  19. Josh Groban is such a pleasure. Such talent, starting in an early age.

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  20. I totally know that punched-in-the-gut feeling. The first holidays are the worst. Hugs!

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    1. I'm sure you do. I wish I could just sleep through the holidays this year. (But my kids won't let me.)

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  21. Every Christmas my mom asked what I wanted. I always answered, Sprits. Dozens arrived, packed carefully in tins. Now if I want Sprits, I make them myself, using my Norwegian grandmother's recipe. Being without Mike has to be much harder for you than losing my parents is for me--especially during the holidays. The two of you had so much fun together. I also read Jilda's blog. She struggles without Rick, whose death was a shock.

    Love,
    Janie

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  22. We had a super small Thanksgiving too. I missed the big family gathering.

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