I know I’m a couple of days late with this post, but in counting my blessings, I thought I’d tell you some of the extraordinary moments for which I’m grateful:
(1) Several years ago, I had been out shopping with a friend. I came home, started some laundry and was putting together dinner when I got a call to come right away. My father, who was terminally ill, was not expected to make it through the night. My parents lived with my brother about 90 minutes north of me. I threw some things in a bag and called a close friend and asked if she’d watch the cat. She said yes, so we jumped into the car and I dropped him off. Not only was my friend entertaining, they had friends over to watch the last episode of a favorite show, airing that night and it was her husband’s birthday. She let me interrupt all of that and dump my cat on her for an indeterminate amount of time (and they had three cats of their own plus were long-term cat-sitting another, at the time.) I didn’t make it to see my father before he died, but I was there in the hospital before they took his body away. I realized, the next morning, that I’d be there for about a week, so I called her and asked her to throw my laundry into the dryer, and grab a black purse for me for the funeral. Not only did she do that, when I went to pick up the cat, she insisted that I stay for a meal. While they cooked, they had me relax in their fabulous Jacuzzi tub. When dinner was ready, we ate together, and then they sent me and the cat (who had to be quarantined from all the other cats because he’s so antisocial) home. When I got home, she’d not only put my laundry into the dryer, she’d put it away to the best of her ability, left fresh flowers on the table— really done all she could to shed light in a dark time. It was one of the kindest, most wonderful things anyone ever did for me.
(2) I tell a story, especially in my family, about a day when my mom had surgery, a few years ago. It was the end of the day, and the surgery was running later than it was supposed to. I was there in the surgical waiting room alone— all of the other families were gone, and none of my family was close enough to attend that day. Even the volunteers who provided information had left for the day. I was keeping people apprised by text/Facebook, but I was starting to get anxious. Over the intercom, I heard them call a code, and I was sure that my mother was dying on a table, somewhere. It was the worst feeling. Not only was I there alone and about to lose my remaining parent, I was going to have to tell everyone— my brothers, her siblings, her grandchildren… I felt so small and alone.
Cut to this Wednesday. We had gone to a late lunch, were going to go shopping and then take an art class (I celebrated a birthday this week). As we walked into the store, mom tripped and went down hard. When we tried to get her up, she was afraid she’d broken ribs. The store called an ambulance. We went to the hospital. They ordered x-rays and CT scans, and she lay on a gurney in the ER hallway for hours. As we waited to get the CT scans done, my cell phone rang. It was my niece (the one closest in age to me who is the closest thing I have to a baby sister), requesting to FaceTime with me. We’ve been doing that with her kids, for the last few weeks. I answered and let her know that my phone was about to die, so I couldn’t talk long. She said “I know you said your least favorite place to be was alone in a hospital waiting room, so I thought I’d wait with you.” There is a reason that this woman is on my short list for my favorite people on the planet.
(3) Another good friend texted while I was waiting with mom for the results of the CT scans (we had finally gotten assigned to a room.) She offered to check on my dog, who had been alone for much longer than usual. I wanted to take her up on it, but my phone died as I tried to respond to the text. I went and checked on him myself. Mom was discharged (no broken bones, only bruises and sprains, fortunately) about 11, and by the time I got her home and settled with a filled prescription for painkillers, it was after midnight. And being the night before Thanksgiving, I had food prep to do. I was up until about 3 a.m. I awoke to another text from my friend that said “Text when you’re up and I’ll take the dog to the dog park.” I wanted to cry, I was so grateful.
I’ve spent 10 years grateful for my friend who went above and beyond, in the wake of my dad’s death. One moment like that in a lifetime would be extraordinary enough— to have three such people in my life and two such moments in 24 hours— well, it’s a good thing I’m a Thanksgiving baby, because I have a lot to be grateful for.