I grew up with what is likely a myth, the long table full to groaning of all the food shared by the pilgrims and Indians so many years ago, representing the beginning or perhaps the middle of a beautiful friendship. We know now that a lot more was going on in that “relationship” than made it into the history books. Said books are, after all, written by the victors.
And we European white people, we stole what wasn’t ours from the indigenous people who were here first.
We shared a little about this with the boys this year and encouraged them to ask questions, to look deeper into history lessons, especially when black or brown people take a central role. Even if Critical Race Theory (CRT) isn’t taught in the schools, we can do some of that at home. Each of us should look deeply and not simply accept information at face value.
And yet, once that serious thinking and teaching is addressed, this holiday for me has become not so much about what happened so many years ago, but what is happening now. The holidays are about getting together with those people we love, to connect and to share about our lives. To appreciate time with others and to reminisce about those empty chairs around the table, physically and metaphorically.
This year, an odd year, we will celebrate with my husband, Elliot’s family. Most of his family lives in or around Orlando, so that’s where we traveled.
In 2021, COVID stole my maternal grandmother and one of Elliot’s Aunts, along with so many others around the world. In the MBC community, we have lost so many, the subject of a recent Our MBC life We Remember episode. So long as our family members and friends are remembered and celebrated, they will never fully die.
The hardest thing about building relationships with those in the MBC community is that we’re all living with a terminal illness and we die at a rate of 114-116 people per day in the US. Knowing more people means that more and more I know the names and faces and stories of so many of those we’ve lost and their families. And my heart breaks a little more to read about the health decline, see the announcements when they’ve passed and to watch their families adjust to that empty chair.
And so, dear readers, on this Thanksgiving Day and every day, I want you to know that I am thankful for each of you. Those of you who read and like and comment and share and remember my efforts are such a necessary reflection and keeps me going. This blogging thing is a solitary endeavor and can be lonely at times, just like living with a terminal/serious illness like MBC. Each of you who show up and show me that my efforts are not totally in vain, you make this worth it.