“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero
Fall is my favorite season, hands down. Of the fall months, I have to say that I absolutely adore October. Yet, October has historically delivered some big, punch-in-my-gut kind of news: my nephew, my brother’s first-born child, was stillborn and we buried him on his due date, October 4. My mother died on October 3. I was diagnosed with cancer on October 20. But I refuse to let these events ruin my love affair with October; it remains one of my favorite months. A year ago, I was privileged enough to experience fall in its full glory by touring Ontario, Canada, as the maples were afire, signifying great change; that a big sleep was about to happen and that they’d be back – green, fresh and renewed – in the spring. I loved thinking that they were going out in a blaze of glory; that everything that they had endured during their “primetime” was just a learning experience so that they could be stripped bare, take some down time, hibernate, regenerate, and come back awe-strikingly beautiful.
So as we gather together today to give thanks, I recognize what I’ve lost. I’m incredibly thankful for all that I’ve retained. For all I’ve gained. For all the things for which I’ve held onto and become a better person. For every single beautiful and bittersweet season of my life and all the things I thought might break me, I’m still here. I’m beyond thankful for the friends who have stood by me. For the amazing people who have offered me love and support, and never doubted that I would survive, and, like the maple, come back with renewed strength, fresh and green and ready to take on the next season. I’m a better person for all of it.
With the greatest and deepest gratitude, I honor my family, my friends and myself today. Such soul-filling, incredible—and often unexpected—love. I am where I am because of the great meet-up of belief and possibilities which have supported me through some of my darkest hours, and reveled with me in the triumph of each new season. From the tip of my boots to the bottom of my heart, I am extremely grateful for every wee bit of all of it.
To each of you who have stopped by here and run your eyes over my words, I sincerely thank you. I hope that, no matter the topic, there’s something here that speaks to you and that you take away a sliver of something that resonates, a sentence that means something to you. You all represent a portion of the best part of my every day, and I’m grateful to each of you.
Wishing you a beautiful holiday filled with sentiment, love, and lots of gravy, because life without gravy is really very . . . beige. Happy, happy Thanksgiving, all.
“The world will not invite you to the feast. You must burst in, demand a seat, and take it.” – John Carlton