We have thanksgiving every day, pausing on November 25 only to make Thanksgiving more ceremonial and reflective. We had our largest gathering in several years, with seventeen persons for Thanksgiving dinner. Most persons were our immediate family, with my son and daughter home, as I mentioned in several past posts; but we also invited old friends who were at loose ends on this holiday. One friend is a neighbor, who, some years ago, was afflicted with a brain tumor - ups and downs, but now he must use a walker, has some difficulty talking, struggles to lift utensils to his mouth to eat, and requires extraordinary effort to hold himself upright at the table. His mind is intact, which must lead to sorrow for him. He is a civil engineer. He worked on railroads and highways, surveying routes in the Southwest. He skiied; he still has seven pairs of skiis in his living room. He drove fast cars - a Ferrari. He has wonderful anecdotes to tell; and still manages to be able to recount them, slowly.
In the midst of dinner, my daughter broke down in tears. She has a very close friend in hospital in New York City. Her friend - a young woman, in her thirties, like my daughter - is now in her second struggle with cancer. First a blood cancer, recently breast cancer. A week ago she was rushed to the hospital, her lungs filling. She is there still. All the family and togetherness overwhelmed my daughter, whose thoughts are never far from her friend. She fears losing her friend and her friend losing this wonderful world of friends who come to New York to be with her. My daughter goes to New York next week.
I woke from my sleep in a nightmare, panicked for my daughter and her friend. As an asthmatic, my deepest fears are of suffocation. I thought I was drowning, but realized it was dreaming in distress for my daughter and her friend.
At Thanksgiving, we requested blessings and made toasts. We thanked the men and women in uniform fighting for us in the Middle East. The young male members of our family at the table shouted out Hoo-rahs for the Marines. The young women kept silent faces of sympathy. We know where our blessings come from. We know how we are blessed.