While I spent Thanksgiving solo, the start of the rest of the holiday weekend was spent with extended family. Family does not always have to be ‘blood’. Friday true family arrived. My ‘ex’ sister in law and her daughter arrived to spend the rest of the weekend with me. I’ve known her for about 32 years since she was about 11. Her daughter is now 12, just about the age she was when I first met her. So this person is many things to me: daughter, sister and most of all cherished friend and family. And her wonderfully sweet daughter is the niece I never had. We had a spectacular time that included laughter, tears, a tiny bit of mother/daughter fight (which Auntie helped fix), shopping, eating, dancing, singing, visiting, shopping (!) and important ritual. I am not Christian, but this family needed an important cleansing and renewal, so I helped them with a special ceremony created within the realms of what I believe. It felt empowering and amazing to be practicing again and I was charged the rest of the day. And both of them seemed to feel a change within themselves–and hopefully this change will continue to grow and blossom and bring them peace and happiness. And my niece helped me to decorate my little tree afterwards: it’s my acknowledgment of all that’s good with the Christmas holiday: giving, peace, joy, family and hope. And we light the tree before the winter solstice and the dark days of winter and the cold tuck us into ourselves. But we take peace knowing that as the seeds lay dormant in the frozen ground ready to burst forth in spring, so do the tiny greens of new ideas sit ready to pop as soon as you open your heart. Blessed be.
As this “Thanksgivukkah” comes to end, I’ve spent it by myself as I usually do. I’ve not heard from two of my three daughters and the above picture shows my ‘thanksgiving dinner.’ I’ve had a very nice and relaxing, but untraditional day. I’ve spent it alone and not with family and there hasn’t been a turkey (well not a dead one) anywhere near here. But I’m content. I slept a record 12 hours, I did my yoga, I took a very chilly walk with the dogs, talked with my Mom and some friends and simply relaxed. All things that gave me pleasure and peace and brought me thankfulness.
So for those of you other singles out there that may have spent this holiday alone in the blogosphere, I say: I hope you had a good day. We are never completely alone as long as we can log onto our wordpress account and check in and see what all our friends are doing! Have a great rest of the holiday!
Today, one day before “Thanksgiving” I was on a fatal car accident at work. Being the paramedic, I went into the significantly damaged vehicle with the driver to see what the injuries were and if there was anything that could be done. The minute I saw her, I knew her injuries would not sustain life. She was showing the last ‘expirations’ of breath that we call agonal respirations.
I discovered upon leaving the vehicle that her sixteen year old daughter was a passenger and needed medical aid also. So I immediately moved to attend to her. She was transported with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. She asked a few times how her mother was during the transport. My partner gave her an honest, but allusive answer. It was not our place to tell her about her mother’s death.
Even though I knew her mother was dead or transitioning toward death when I entered the car, it was my choice not to leave her in there by herself. There was nothing medically I could do for her at that point, but I personally feel that no person should have to die like that alone. Whatever religion or whomever she may believe in, either in an after life or deity, her spirit was leaving her earthly form as her last breath left her.
She was not conscious and I do not delude myself that she knew I was there. But in my heart I hoped that I helped her pass over to wherever. I quietly told her it was OK, that she wasn’t alone. I was a medical examiner for some years and am comfortable with death. Traumatic death is especially hard for the living, and probably for the dying too.
I know when I had my car accident and I thought I was going to die, it was scary, dark and so lonely. She probably did think about her children as I did and what would become of everyone. Hopefully my presence was somehow felt.
It reminded me again of reverence of life, the brevity of our time here, the need for gratitude, how every day needs to be for thanksgiving, to remember what’s important and laugh, love and don’t bother with anger.
Any moment, around any corner, any artery, any loaded gun in one second can knowingly or unknowingly topple your life and dreams. And then your loved ones will be left behind to question: did we love enough? Did we do all the things we wanted? Did we have enough fun together? Why did we fight so much?
So the next time you go to bed angry at someone you love, or you’re driving too fast because you’re late to work, or you yell at someone, or you stop talking to an old friend for a dumb reason, or you don’t do something fun because it cost just a little too much–think about it again and remember: there may be no tomorrow to try again.
Bitter sadness moves
Within his soul and withers
Once bright flame flickers