Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My sister is a psychologist, a good one. I could say this just because she is a good person, but there have been times in my life when I have needed her so desperately and she has worn that hat for me, and she wears it well. In her work she has crossed paths with a variety of people under many different circumstances. Among the most compelling to me were a number of older men that she worked with at a VA hospital some years ago. Their various disabilities and psychological illnesses are irrelevant to me and to this story, because what touched me most was this: these men were completely alone in the world. They had, literally, no one. No parents, no siblings, no aunts or uncles who cared. They had no spouse, no girlfriend, and no children. These people had nobody who loved them. Not anybody.
I could hardly wrap my mind about this concept, and it made my heart literally ache. To imagine being so alone, to have nobody to turn to when you needed something, to have not been touched in a gentle, soft way in decades. I couldn't imagine having nobody to care for, no one to think about, and knowing that there was nobody to think about me. To know that if you died, there would be nobody to claim your body. To be virtually alone.
I compare this to my own life, and it makes me want to pull the covers up over my head and hide, because I am so blessed with so many people whom I love, and who love me. I don't even know where to begin. My family is huge, everyone is happy and good to each other (mostly), I have so many good, good friends. There are dozens of places I could turn for anything.
I wish I had the clarity of mind to always feel this absolutely blessed when I'm having the worst day of my life, when my children are pulling me in six different directions, when my husband forgot to call and say he's going to be late, when I forgot to thaw the dinner, and it feels like everything is whirling around me in a sandstorm. Wouldn't it be sublime if I could just step outside of that situation and say, so many people love me, these two children are alive and well, and my husband will be home... eventually. But, I'll think it today, and perhaps I'll be reminded of this sometime when things seem too whirly to compute.

One man's story, I shall never forget. His parents were dead, no siblings to speak of. His wife had left him years before. He had no real friends; he was homeless.
His children? One daughter, stillborn forty years earlier. My sister said his eyes filled with tears as he told her. She was his only child.

This Thanksgiving, I say with a great, deep breath of gratitude, I have so much to be thankful for.


Hope's Mama said...

This is lovely Carol. Even though we don't do Thanksgiving here in Australia, I will still stop tomorrow and realise all I have to be thankful for. Which is still so, so much xo

Rachel Elizabeth said...

Its amazing how one story can put things in perspective.

kris said...

Carol, I am forcing myself to go to bed now...I stumbled upon your blog tonight and I've been reading for over an hour. I wrote with you in that special, sacred living room the fall before Aoife was born, and I think of you--and Charlotte--often, especially on Monday nights, when I continue to revel in that wonderful space.

Thank you for continuing to share your story. I'll be a frequent visitor here. Be well.