My Grinch is coming out. Thanksgiving was when my Mother was alive and put out a huge spread which she would always take a picture of. Thanksgiving is now the time everyone seems to gear up for Black Friday – except for us poor folk. I’m lucky if I can do a little Cyber Monday but not much. These times they have been changing. I feel like Albert in Miracle on 42nd Street – “Who put the commercialism into Christmas?” Although now it starts before Halloween. How can you be thankful when you can’t keep the Holidays in linear alignment?
My family always treats the Holidays with great stress. Who should go where – what to bring – Should we try to force ourselves into uncomfortable gatherings? There is so much stress, you can’t find it in you to give from your heart. You stand, feet moving back and forth, shuffling to find an easier position. Your Holiday contribution to the meal lies untouched, except by you, the only one to eat it. And worse, it was a staple on Mom’s Thanksgiving table – Heresy!!
Gratitude? To either be with persons you don’t really want to be with or be sequestered within the walls of your empty home. Honestly, the fact that we have a home is an amazing thing to be grateful for. And if not your own home, than a shelter or another person who offers you a bed in which to sleep.
Disgruntled by what you have to bring or that no one appreciates it, or that you have to go to a Community Meal? Let us get down on our knees and be grateful we have access to nourishing food. Think of the refugees, those in Aleppo or other sites across the world that have no food, water, shelter. And those within our own community, particularly the elderly and children.
So many of us struggle with the holidays, particularly so because of our disease. Most of our friends and relatives simply don’t understand why we are so uncomfortable, withdrawn or manic. Why can’t we be better? We can’t, that’s why. We are doing the best we can. Just realize they struggle with our illness too. They might really want to relate better with us but don’t know how. If we need to, we can gently explain it to them.
But there are real and valid reasons for gratitude and thankfulness. We do get help. We can get services to assist us even if persistence is necessary to obtain them. Our support groups can help. Even if we are hanging in by the skin of our teeth, there are crisis centers to call, ministers to talk to, friends or neighbors to talk to. We can keep to our traditions. Watch all those sappy movies that have little to do with real life. Do things for others. Pray for guidance and understanding. Smile as much as we can because the act itself, even if forced, realigns your face and emotions. Finally, realize that it is only a month and a week before it is over.