This Thanksgiving I am reminded of all that I have to be thankful for. My dear friend Pam has reached her final days and for all I know today may be the last time I see her on earth. I will be away for two days this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family at Disneyland. This trip had been planned and reservations were made long before Pam entered her final weeks. My first instinct after seeing her yesterday and hearing the nurse’s report was to cancel my trip, because it’s not like I can’t go to Disneyland any time that I want. However, I am not canceling this trip as Pam would not want me to cancel. So this trip will be in honor of Pam. The past two months Pam’s situation has reminded of all that I have to be thankful for. With that said, here is my list of things that I am giving thanks for this year.
- Life: I am thankful to be alive. Yes, my life may be filled with unending physical pain, but I am still alive. Although at times it fills like it, I don’t have a deadline looming in the back of my head because of a terminal condition.
- My family and close friends: I am thankful to have these people in my life. They have stood by and helped me through some of my darkest and ugliest moments. They have encouraged and strengthened me. They understand when I am not physically capable of doing something.
- My chronic conditions: You might think I am crazy for being thankful for my conditions and that may be true, but I truly am thankful for them. I am thankful that they are not terminal. I am thankful that without them I would have never slowed my pace of life. I am thankful that they have taught me to live my life my way and to not worry about keeping up with everyone else. I am thankful that I can’t do everything that I used to, because if I could I would have never revisited my love of writing. I am thankful that they have taught me to have more compassion for others, to be able to relate to someone who is physically suffering.
- My Disneyland Annual Pass: This may sound silly, but I am really thankful for my pass. I have given up many things others consider to be necessities in order to pay for my pass and park visits. I don’t need cable, to go to the movies, or eat out often. Disneyland is more than a vacation destination for me. It is my therapy, both physical and emotional. My days at Disneyland teach me about myself and my conditions. I am learning my limits and to accept them. I have learned to become a more patient person. I have learned to relax and to cherish every moment.