The weather was getting perfect in my opinion. It was cool and brisk, but not freezing. It was usually dry too. We planned to go to Houston to celebrate Thanksgiving with a friend of my mom and John’s named Lisa Kelly. She is a doctor and was so helpful to my mother throughout this whole ordeal, and I really appreciate it. Thank you, Lisa. My mom needed all the love and support she could get.
We decided to order to pick up Thanksgiving dinner from a nearby restaurant and not cook. My mom and I were so exhausted and, as you know, cooking Thanksgiving dinner is quite an ordeal.
We arrived in Houston and went to Lisa’s new home that she had just moved into. There were boxes everywhere and the walls were bare, but the beds and dining room were all set up. John hung Lisa’s paintings and artwork and we unpacked a lot of the boxes. John took Lisa to get Oriental rugs to fill the great long hallway in her house and when we left on Sunday, it really had turned into the christening of the new house with friends and family and I was happy to be a part of it. Her sons and one of their girlfriends joined us for dinner. It was nice to spend the holidays with their incredible family and it was nice to have some people close to my age around. I still stayed relatively quiet because it took so much effort to talk, but, like everything I did, it was a great excercise for me in normalizing a bit.
Historically Thanksgiving is to celebrate when Europeans came to America and took it over from the natives, and we can be thankful to the natives for welcoming us so we could take advantage of their kindness. It’s kind of a celabration of atrocities to me in a historical sense, but Thanksgiving is so much more than just a turkey day. And I love me some turkey! But it is a time to look at the things around you and the sacrifices that have been made and show your appreciation.
I began thinking about everything I had to be thankful for and only scratched the surface in my thoughts. I had so much to be thankful for and was sure to text my nurses and closest friends that were there for me. Thank you all again. I will eternally be thankful to you. Especially Jenn for moving into my apartment and taking care of my dog. It really means so much to me. I am so thankful that I had survived and woke from a coma. 90% of people with my kind of brain injury do not. I am so thankful that I am not in a vegetative state. Even though I am severely affected, so many of those with my kind of brain injury are left in a vegetative state. I am so thankful for the care I got at the hospital with all of my therapists and doctors. I am so thankful to anyone who devotes their profession to helping others like they do. I am so thankful that I lived somewhere where my recovery was possible. I am thankful for the social programs that helped me get the care I needed to recover as well. I was so thankful for the clothes on my back and the roof over my head. I am so thankful for the family that I had, especially my mom and her partner, John, and how they were and are supportive of me in my time of need. I am so thankful for the teachers and the people in my life and how they have taught me so much to make me who I am. I am even thankful to those who have done wrong by me, because I learned from them too. And beyond all, I am thankful for my mother. I do not know what would have been without her support, love, time, strength, work, and belief in me.
While this holiday was certainly the most uncomfortable Thanksgiving that I have ever experienced, this was a Thanksgiving that was filled with more gratitude than ever before. I’ve heard stories about how cancer survivors suddenly don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. All of the little things that used to bother them don’t bother them anymore. Those things suddenly aren’t important enough to focus on. What is important are the people who have touched you and who you have touched. Who has stood by you, who has helped you and who you have stood by and helped. How you can help others and bring joy to others lives. What is amazing is that bringing joy to others usually brings joy to you. I gave thanks that day and everyday for everything and everyone that I have, because they have made me who I am and I couldn’t be writing this without each and every one of them.
So here’s to the appreciation of everything that we appreciate… everything that we want more of… Everything that we feel good about.