A year ago, my California family had a big Thanksgiving: my dad and all his progeny were there. Richard and I flew up from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Our daughter and her family flew in from Toronto, and our son flew in from New York.
It was a huge gathering: four generations! You can imagine how wonderful it was.
Dad, soon to turn 95, was always chipper but increasingly frail. Even so, it came a shock when he died a little over two months later.
I’m so grateful that we had this family gathering.
Here’s a beautiful poem my friend Jenifer McVaugh sent me this morning: “Thanks,” by W. S. Merwin:
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is
I have a lot to be grateful for, and one gratitude at the core of my being is that I have the very good fortune to be a writer … and with that, hand-in-hand, is my heartfelt gratitude for readers. I thank you so much.
The poem, for me, mirrors much of what later life brings…the strawberry laughter of love given (thank you) and the honey tears when it is taken from us but memories linger (thank you), the awareness (thank you) that all that comes (thank you) will also pass through, leave its imprint and go beyond in its own time (thank you). To have experienced at all (and it all) is worthy of my thanks.
That’s beautifully expressed, Alexa. I especially like “the strawberry laughter of love.” Gratitude is so important! Thank you for this lovely thought.
It was the poem that got me thinking…glad you enjoyed.
That is a beautiful poem. I’m so glad you had that last thanksgiving with your dad.
Thank you, Lilian. I agree! The poem is so nuanced. And as for my dad–it was a very special time. (And he a special guy.)