Thanksgiving. A day of thanks. A day we set aside in late November to consume a 3000 calorie meal and give thanks for people and things before we spend every dime we have buying presents for those people for whom we are so grateful.
As I scrolled my Facebook newsfeed, I read varying posts of gratitude; health, gainful employment, a successful surgery. Someone was grateful his dog couldn’t speak. I particularly enjoyed that one. But the most popular posts of gratitude were for family and friends.
We simply enjoy the comfort of being with those we love. We thrive on the physical contact and close proximity. The sharing of a meal, the retelling of stories, the creation of a new memory–all adds to the intricate, delicate, yet continually fortified bond that holds us together.
The eve of Thanksgiving found me newly separated from my husband of 14 years with our divorce pending. I was alone with a glass of wine, my canine at my feet, and a marathon phone call from one of the kindest, most generous souls I have ever had the fortune of knowing. I cried. I was a pathetic mess. I was not strong. I was exhausted and did not want to go to sleep for fear of waking to the arduous task of enduring, dare I say it…loneliness.
I awoke Thanksgiving day alone, but not lonely and perhaps it was due to the much needed rest; perhaps it was the loving pep talk from the night before. Or maybe it was just me.
I missed my daughter who was celebrating the holiday with her dad. I also missed my parents, my twin brother, and a few close friends I have known since childhood, but being a natural recluse, a part of me(OK, all of me) was grateful to NOT be around anyone. I spent the day alone, quiet, reading, and thinking. I am not, nor have I ever been, one who requires the company of others for some sort of validation that I am loved, or even liked. I do not understand or find particularly attractive those who DO require the constant company of others; the fact there are those who cannot find fulfillment, enjoyment, or peace with their own company is, in my not so humble opinion, sad. Granted, I update my Facebook status more often than a 12-year-old girl; the mere idea screams, “Notice me! Love me! Be insanely jealous of my fantastic life!” Social networking, a deplorable pissing contest for some, is a certain dream come true for those of us who don’t choose to completely drop out of life, but still feel the need to keep others at a considerable arm’s length.
So this year I am grateful for peaceful solitude, solitariness, calm, being inside my own head. As a mother, my thoughts are never my own. I don’t need to explain that to all the mothers; you know exactly what that means, and to have even a few hours to just think is worth immense gratitude.
So bring on the loneliness, the tears, the fear, the grief of losing a once ardent love that has changed. I will turn it all into something good, something useful. I welcome all of it. My life ahead of me will be wonderful, perfect, insurmountable, hard, joyous, and somedays hell. But it is my life–adding yet another layer to my intricate, delicate, yet continually fortified life.