Monday, December 3, 2012

Thanksgiving Is Not Only In November

He was a prisoner in his own body. He couldn't open his eyes. He couldn't move. He figured he was in a hospital because he had all sorts of things sticking in and out of his body. There was a lot of people around him and they talked in hushed tones. From what he could discern he was in this condition for some time. The serious of the voices indicated that he probably was getting close to checking out. He wished he could see those who surrounded his bed and spoke in hushed, serious tones. He was pretty sure he recognized his children voices. He was hoping to hear her voice but he was just fading in and out of consciousness and except for his children he really didn't recognize anyone else.

He was coming out of another series of blackness and he guessed that it was a Doctor he was hearing telling those around the bed that maybe he had a few more hours, perhaps a day at most, at that. He heard the voices softly talking to each other about how close it was to Thanksgiving and how it looked that this holiday that was always so important to them would have to be passed because it wouldn't seem right to celebrate if he wasn't going to be there. He wanted to shout to them to go ahead and have the biggest Thanksgiving feast they could have because he had a great life that was filled with so many great events he could spend an eternity issuing thanks for the ride of his life. He started to slip out of consciousness into a blue fog and suddenly it was a Thanksgiving that happened some sixty years ago.

His mother always had the Thanksgiving feast. He had a very large extended family. Even though it was just his brother and parents they had dozens of cousins, loads of Aunts and Uncles, who were more like brothers and sisters and surrogate parents. They weren't all there at this feast but a lot of them were and the others would be reached by phone. The meal started with antipasto, the prosciutto was delicious and melted in his mouth as it was spread over the melon. Then came the pasta and the meat in the home cooked ragu .  Mom used to spend hours making that pasta gravy, sauce to the purists. Then the turkey which back then seemed to be served only at Thanksgiving, potatoes, vegetables followed by dessert of many cakes and pastry. The wine and beer flowed as did the conversation loud and filled with laughter and arguments. These were good times and everyone there seemed so young and full of life. But the talk and laughter started to fade, echo as he came back into consciousness. What a family he thought. He was so thankful he grew up in a family that had so much life, whose relatives were so much closer than the titles they carried of cousins and such. Even at this late stage he cherished his cousins who were left and thought of them as sisters and brothers. Most of the family had aged, wizened, died. He thought now he would see them again.

Again the haze took over and he was at another Thanksgiving feast. This time it was his family. He had a large brood and they were loud and boisterous. He had met a beautiful fiery Puerto Ricana who captivated him and they loved and lived for over fifty years until she was eaten up by a terrible disease and left him alone. But this day was a day some forty years ago when he they had their family and moms and pops and cousins and she had prepared a fest similar to the one he had envisioned some time before. They ate, laughed, argued, yelled and just exhausted themselves enjoying the day and each other. He saw his children grow to be people who he was proud of and who he loved very much. But he let his wife show the love for he was too much of a man to become too mushy. But he loved them all and was very proud to have fathered such a crew. As he was coming back into semi-consciousness he thought he made mistakes but the existence of his children made up for a lot of those mistakes and gives him much to be thankful for. He felt the loss of his wife but the love they felt for each other was worth the time spent battling that awful disease. More reason to be thankful.

He felt himself slipping into eternity once more but he didn't want to go, not yet. He still didn't hear her voice, feel her presence, he couldn't go without knowing she still loved him even in this state. And suddenly he was back at that day after his wife was gone for a half a dozen years and he figured he was getting too old for any of the romance that might have been left in whatever life he had in store for himself. Then he met her. She was a lot younger, full of life fun to be with. For some reason they hit it off. He thought it was crazy but besides liking each other there was an animal magnetism between them that just had to be explored. Suddenly life had more bounce to it, more fun to it, more reason to live in it. Each meal they shared was for him like mini Thanksgivings. Each experience shared just drew them closer. They were in love. Something that shouldn't, couldn't have happened but did. They were enjoying life, enjoying the moment then everything seemed to go black. And this time he almost came into full consciousness because he realized he had a medical occasion that threw him into this semi-comatose situation. Now he was being drawn into eternity, towards the light but not yet, not until he heard her voice once more so he could take her love, her caring with him into the great beyond. Suddenly he heard some rustling around and in hushed tones, one of his kids was saying to someone, "We tried to get in touch with you but you know how he is, he never gave us your number." In answering them he recognized her voice and he felt her draw closer. She still smelled great. He sensed she was crying. She touched him and whispered, "I love you." And then he was ready. He lived a full life and he headed towards the light full of the love he shared, full of thanks for a life lived with love.

But just as he was heading towards the light he felt something stopping him from moving forward. Instead he started to see the distance between him and the light to grow and soon the light was gone. The voice of love was calling him back as was the will of all those around the bed. He knew he must return because his life was not complete. He knew he had to share many more holidays with those who loved him. He knew he still had something to accomplish with his life so he fought with great resolve until he opened his eyes and saw them, saw her. He smiled, and said "I'm back. Your collective love let me know that there is too much here for me to do, for me to experience and I must stay until my journey is complete.". With that he reached for her hand, he held it and said, "Stop crying! I'm back to love you even more than before.".

And they lived a longer life than they could have ever expected sharing their love with all and especially with each other. With all this giving thanks was a no brainer!
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