Thursday, November 23, 2006

THANKSGIVING ALONE

Earlier I read "Time Goes By" and Grumpy Old Lady's Thanksgiving post -- a must read for all. I unabashedly say, my emotions were so affected that I knew I must write a few thoughts of my own.

I'm planning to spend my first Thanksgiving, ever, alone. Probably others have had this experience, but it will be new for me. I don't feel a sense of trepidation about being alone for this holiday -- that's just the way it is.

Family wanted me to travel to be with them, but as much as I would have enjoyed their company, I simply didn't look forward to the process involved in getting there, then needing to return home quickly, as I have work the next day. In those travel instances I would have needed to go half-way, or all the way across the country. There are no other family members here, nor are there family between here and where those loved ones live. I'm sure there are many others for whom there is also a separation from those for whom we care, and they us, due to geographic distance this holiday.

So each of us adjusts in our own special ways to being physically alone. I don't really feel alone. I'm surrounded by memories and memorabilia, plus there will be some activities I'll want to undertake around the house. There will likely be phone calls, but even if there aren't, we just emailed and spoke on the phone within the past day or so, and likely will again before the coming weekend has passed. Still, because of this first, being alone, I wouldn't be surprised if thoughts should enter my mind of previous holidays with family and friends who are no longer living.

I've realized, for at least the past ten or fifteen years there would be a diminishing number of loved ones living nearby in the years ahead. I've known most of my life that this possibility would probably eventually become a reality. I just know it in quite a different way now, because it has become a reality. Certainly I experienced the loss of loved family members and friends even as a young person, and periodically during the ensuing years. Some succumbed to accidents, others to disease, including a self-initiated departure. Some were very young, others older. Some were even said to have led a long full life, thus were ready to depart this world. But there was that loss which somehow signaled what was to come.

I was most impacted with the realities of life and death when my mother died sixteen years ago, a few short days after Thanksgiving. There was something about the loss of a beloved parent, which resulted in my realization a significant life change had occurred. I was now part of the oldest generation. My mother was 89 years old, only four months from being 90 yrs of age. She had lived about ten years longer than her mother lived. Mother's last two years were not as I would have wanted them to be, especially considering she was mentally alert almost until the last breath she took while I was by her side.

Since that day, there has been an increased sense of keen awareness of loss each time another loved family member or friend is no longer present in the world in which I now exist. I am most aware of that sensitivity this particular Thanksgiving, my first without my husband. Certainly I accept I may suddenly feel flooded with emotion for seemingly no reason of which I am consciously aware. That doesn't happen often any more, but it still happens. I am no longer as surprised as I was the first time it occurred after some period of what I thought was emotional resolution. Whatever the feelings, whenever they may occur, they will be welcomed, another part of life, and maybe part of this holiday.

This Thanksgiving I am acutely aware of how very much for which I am thankful ... my family ... my friends ... new friends and acquaintances I've made in this virtual world who are uniquely real ... memories ... health ... hope ... anticipation of the future. Most of all, I'm simply glad to be alive.

9 comments:

  1. I hope your Thanksgiving will not be too lonely, my dear....I too am alone and I'm really okay with it....In fact, it is kind of a nice experience in many ways...I'll be thinking of you in this "first" and know that though you are alone today...there are a lot of people out here in the Bklogesphere that send you Virtual Hugs...me among them!

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  2. Happy Thanksgiving, joared. I am certainly one of the people out here in the blogosphere who sends you virtual hugs. Am so thrilled for you that you have joined the writer's community and are generously sharing your stories. You will be in my thoughts today.

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  3. Happy Happy Thanksgiving to you Joared. Your post certainly hit home with me...as you know. Last year was my first Thanksgiving without my husband...just a week after his passing. But I had a whole houseful of family with me then. This year...a little different. This has been one year when everyone traveled for many different things...some good, and some not so good. None of us will be traveling back and forth for T-Day or Christmas this year....a very hard decision to come to for all of us. We are so used to being together for these occasions.

    But for my one daughter who lives nearby, I will be alone too. Even my son, who also lives nearby, has to work. (local police dept.) Even though it's a little weird not having everyone here, I too am fine with it. I never know what to expect as far as what my emotional state may be regarding my husband. Often I'm caught by surprise, but I just flow with it. My daughter and I will be busy with some things, but I suspect we'll both have some sensitive moments. And if so...I welcome them.

    Again Joared, have a thankful and blessed day...heartfelt thoughts are coming your way... -Joy

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  4. Isn't it wonderful that one may be alone without being lonely? For those who have lost loved ones near a holiday, it must be terribly wrenching; but, people (especially women) have much more strength than society generally attributes to them. May you all have a thoughtful, peaceful, rewarding Thanksgiving day. Sending my hugs to you all!
    Cop Car

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  5. Happy Thanksgiving, Joared.

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  6. I was deeply touched by your poignant essay. I wish you well on this Thanksgiving Day and the best of everything in the years ahead.

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  7. You wrote of the experience of many and sometimes because there is nobody left period. Holidays can be tough on families even when they are intact but not emotionally the loving nests we would all wish them to be. I hope you find joy in this day. Some choose to do Thanksgiving dinners with sets of friends, but that requires finding friends who don't have family themselves.

    I have felt that often my sharing happens more online now than it does in person given farm living and kids moving away from the farm. I don't think that's a bad thing. Just a different way. For some reason holidays haven't meant as much to me especially after my kids grew up. I have to work to get into the spirit.

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  8. Sometimes alone on a holiday isn't so terrible. Many years ago, I was up until 3AM on Thanksgiving editing a TV show that was to air that night. I was away from home, in L.A., staying at the Beverly Wilshire.

    I fell into bed at 3AM, slept like the dead until about 11AM when it struck me that it was Thanksgiving. Damn. I'd forgotten to tell any L.A. friends that I was in town.

    So I ordered breakfast, checked the TV schedule and saw there was an all-day Twilight Zone marathon. Later in the day, I ordered up wine, fruit and cheese and sat back in my flannel nightgown to watch a whole lot of great old television.

    I've forgotten a lot of Thanksgivings in a haze of turkey and lots of people. But I'll always remember that one with fondness.

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  9. Jorad, I hope you are surrounded by pleasant memories of Thanksgiving's past.I send warm wishes for contentment as you go through the holidays.

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