We remember holidays past--the folks who are no longer with us, due to illness or death or divorce, the specialty regional or ethnic foods we ate that no one knows how to make anymore, the football games we played in the yard or watched at our local high school stadium, the parade we actually attended or watched on television.
Often the holidays now feel diminished, especially when family live far away and cannot all attend or coose not to attend due to family feuds. Even more so, when one of the loved ones has developed dementia and cannot participate any longer, can't help with the preparation, can't travel to visit family members and sometimes don't even remember their own family members' names.
What do we have to be grateful for? We are grateful for the people in our lives, the new people we have recently met who enrich us and share their stories and recipes with us. We are grateful for what we have that is good and wholesome and bountiful. Of course all that good food is also fattening. People actually eat about 4500 calories in a typical American Thanksgiving dinner, more than double the amount recommended for a whole day!
We are enriched by feeling gratitude for the people we share our lives with, for children and grandchildren, for parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents. We are grateful we are not alone.
I am grateful for the staff of the memory care center where my husband resides. Each year they work on the holiday, decorating the center, preparing and serving the most traditional foods in a way that is possible for the residents and their visitors to enjoy, which is even more important for the residents who do not have family who come to visit. Sharing the day with them increases my gratitude for the blessings that have been given to me. Please share your bounty with someone who has less and smile, visit and reach into your pockets and donate money to your favorite charity to show your gratitude on this holiday.