Erin's Journals

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Just a thought… Gratitude is the memory of the heart. [Jean Baptiste Massieue]

I know I’m ahead of the curve here, but I’m having a very Thankful Thursday.

Yes, the holiday of Thanksgiving is marked next Monday and we’ll all be trying to find reasons to count our blessings. (I found a fascinating piece on gratitude in crisis that I’d like to share with you on Monday if you’ll come by.)

For a great many – especially if you’re socially distancing and keeping your celebration bubble small – there are heartaches. Chairs sit empty, and may stay that way for some; it seems we’ve all lost someone or know of someone who has passed in 2020. This Thanksgiving in homes across Canada, memories are being recalled instead of made. And for that, I am so sorry.

On Monday it’ll be three weeks since my dear friend Lisa Brandt’s mother passed away from cancer. You may remember that I mentioned her mom’s unlikely state of gratitude whilst lying in hospice. She found care and peace and said she’d never been happier. (May we all find that feeling in our last days and hours.)

Today, Lisa marks her first birthday without her mother in the world to send a card and a gift, to make a call. Lisa is in my heart every day, but I hold her more closely today. We make fantasy plans – once we can embrace life post-COVID – of spending our time reconnecting, of just being together. With no other plans on the horizon, it’s the misty ones we form in daydreams that keep us going. I’m a believer in holding tight to your dreams.

This year has not been without its good surprises, as many of us have used enforced cocooning to make changes, to re-evaluate and to take stock of what we have instead of what we have not. The challenges have made each tiny victory taste sweeter in light of struggles that have preceded it; the gratitude a little more visceral in its afterglow.

You know that for Rob and me, our lives have, somewhat impossibly, changed for the better in the second half of 2020. The utter, heart-bursting joy of having children around and being close to family has given us a gift that we re-open every day.

This Sunday, our precious Colin will take his turn opening presents, as he marks his sixth birthday. A party that was planned has been postponed for a week as his family (and, if my scratchy throat is telling the truth, ours too) deal with the cold virus that seems to have found us. I actually thought that this year’s back-to-school with its masks and extra hygiene might spare us the fall colds, but no, we don’t get that break!

Still, we’ll have presents and cake for him, a turkey dinner for us all and noisy celebrations amidst the sniffles. We’ll count our blessings that our health is only compromised in the most mundane of ways, and hold in our hearts those who have empty spaces at their table this Thanksgiving.

Thank you for being here and I wish you and yours a peaceful weekend filled with the love – or memories of love – and thoughts of gratitude and hope.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, October 8, 2020