I’m nothing special. I was given some talent to string words together, and I have been blessed to have this second career. I’ve worked for it, of course. It wasn’t just handed to me.
When I came out of the hospital on Christmas Eve in 2002 after my triple by-pass surgery, I was terrified that at the ripe young age of 48 I would be staring at decades ahead filled with nothing to do. Anyone who knows me, knows that it’s very rare for me to sit idle. I have to keep busy, keep doing. It’s just the way I’m wired.
I feel so very thankful for so many things. I thought I would share some of those things with you, as some of you are about to celebrate Thanksgiving.
With this new career I’ve embarked upon, has come new friends. I am so very grateful for the professional connections I have made. I’ve been a writer down to my toes all of my life. And all of my life, making friends was tough because I was such an odd duck. People didn’t get me and I sure as heck didn’t get them. I found women particularly mystifying. I’ve never liked to shop, fuss with hair or makeup, gossip about boys—or anything else for that matter. And shoes? They really don’t turn me on at all. I suppose that last really is a blessing because as crippled as I am with arthritis, I’m not missing out on anything by not having the latest fashion on my feet.
But now I have friends who understand me. Friends who know what I mean, because they have been there—artistically speaking. Just a few words exchanged via Skype in the middle of a busy day, and I am grounded, comforted and understood. I finally can say I have people in my life with whom I get to enjoy real a sense of belonging.
I’m grateful to have so very many readers—readers who are also friends! Nothing touches me more profoundly than when a reader reaches out, and sends me a few words via e-mail. I’m always very humbled when I read that my words have helped—whether they helped the reader with something in life, or gave them a sense of camaraderie, or just gave them a couple hours of escape from a hectic, difficult life. I can be pretty stoic most days, but when I read those messages from my readers, my heart fills with gratitude and quite often, my eyes fill with tears.
I grateful for my husband of nearly 42 years. Neither one of us, nor our marriage, is perfect. But we are still together, and still friends, and that’s something. My beloved is a good man. He’s overcome many challenges in his life. Most significantly I can say he is 31 years sober. I’m proud of him.
I’m grateful for my children, and my grandchildren and one great grandchild. Yes, we suffered the loss of our middle child, our second son. But we had him for 29 years, and I hold him in my heart, and see him in the two beautiful children he left behind.
I’m grateful to live in Canada, a country free from anarchy. I don’t go to bed at night and fear what may be hiding in the darkness. I don’t need to worry about whether or not bombs will fall, or soldiers will overrun my town.
Though I have had some health challenges, I’m still well enough to plan ahead. We none of us know how much time we have in this life, but I’m grateful for every sunrise I get. And do you know what? I like being grateful for every sunrise I get.
We all have much for which we can and should say thank you—not just on Thanksgiving, but on every day. I believe that an attitude of gratitude enriches us, bringing out the best and the fullest not only in us, but also in every moment, and every relationship.
Gratitude is like a little added dash of nutmeg to the eggnog of life.
On behalf of our entire family, Mr. Ashbury and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving!