In three days, our neighbours in the United States, will celebrate their Thanksgiving Day, which again, nudges me to be grateful that I have so many blessings.
This past October in Canada, it was comforting for My Love and me to observe Thanksgiving, as always, when the leaves were turning, and the fresh harvest was just coming in. Typically, it was an exciting time.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving was a day to share, but aside from My Love’s advancing, late stage, Alzheimer’s disease, COVID made our day of celebration quite different, most nontraditional, lonely, and somewhat empty.
Fortunately, what should have been a familiar experience, was buoyed up and strengthened by the lingering sunshine as it intensified the rich colours of the foliage remaining on the trees. Those colours always gave us a warm, cozy feeling, a sunny feeling to appreciate and hold onto through the cloudy, fall days we knew would follow.
We could not share our meal with friends or extended family, not beyond our bubble. We could not be with nor hug others, as we wished. It was just the two of us, together. Yet, we were grateful that our hunger for socializing could be satisfied with family Zoom sessions, Facetime, or phone calls, providing some connection.
We made the best of what was becoming a tragic situation because we did not want to become part of the escalating number of virus cases, some of whom never recovered. To that end, for over seven months we had been learning to live in isolation, distancing ourselves from each other, keeping our faces covered with masks, and frequently washing our hands, hoping to do our part in containing the spread of this aggressive disease among global citizens. We felt grateful that most of us followed the evolving policies put forth to keep us well and safe.
And all the while, we watched our lives transforming before us into a lifestyle yet unknown to us. The businesses, stores and restaurants were reduced to ‘allowable services,’ many closing forever. Our shopping habits went from personal touch to cyber picking with a click…clothes, groceries, meals switched to a ‘to go’ or home-delivery basis. We were grateful when these community members were still able to find ways to carry on services that we have long taken for granted. We only hope there will be ways they will find to reinvent themselves or their businesses, to achieve the yet-unimaginable – to reinsert themselves into our yet-undefined new economy and lifestyle.
We are thankful we still have the opportunity to recreate our world, that we still have our skills and our knowledge. But it feels like someone shook the box and turned double-sided pieces of a puzzle out onto the table and we don’t recognize the picture we are trying to reassemble…yet, we are grateful we can still use our skills and knowledge to find new ways of putting the puzzles of our intermingled communities back together.
Having family in both the US and Canada, I have enjoyed the United States Thanksgiving, as well. It always arrives in late November. Their holiday seems almost to be an overture to the exhaustive holiday season that lasts through gift shopping, festive parties, writing cards to friends, wrapping presents, caroling nights, Santa parades, and ending with the New Year football games.
But this year, those in the US will also be experiencing unfamiliar, lonely hours as they begin that long ‘winter holiday’ in uncharted waters brought on by the exploding cases of COVID in their country. This week will show the strength of their world to be resilient, and like those in Canada, they will be looking for new ways of celebrating, finding new ways to communicate, socialize and revitalize their communities within their new lifestyle.
As we ALL make our way through the remainder of 2020, I hope we will all be able to look at the good we have, the wonderful people we have been blessed to meet and know, the good experiences we have had together, and will continue to share our good fortune. I know for me, being grateful for what we have will carry me forward into the most unknown future I have ever faced.
My wish is that My Love and I will carry that same gratefulness from our thanksgiving celebrations over into our lives moving forward. I am thankful I have a long list of reasons to be happy this Thanksgiving.
I am grateful I can wish a “very Happy Thanksgiving” to those who are celebrating!
Gratefulness © 2020 Judith Allen Shone