Thankfulness Down to Basics After Weather Disaster

I have been talking to and supporting my friends who have been devastated by the most recent weather disaster here in Houston. Many are still out of sorts, feeling cranky, or much worse than that. Some are downright depressed.

Displacement is hard, especially on aging nervous systems. I have been there, done that, so when they talk to me they know I really and truly understand and empathize, because not everyone truly understands.

And now it is Thanksgiving, and we will all gather with our families, or friends, or both, and try to feel “thankful” that we have another year on this planet to celebrate this warm and fuzzy holiday.

There are a few friends who cannot host as they typically do because of their smaller quarters as they are displaced. They are not happy about having to take their feast out to a restaurant. Restaurants around here have been sold out on their reservations list for months due to so many having to eat out this year.

They say that those of us who did not flood (Thank you, Gary, for insisting we demolish, build new and high up) have survivors guilt. While I am so happy to host the very first Thanksgiving in our new home (moved in last December after the holiday and was bummed last year that we did not get to celebrate it in the new home) – I am also feeling extra fortunate that I am one of the few who will feel celebratory about where it will be held. So I guess that feeling of celebration is tinged with some survivors guilt that so many I know and love will not get to host in familiar, homey surroundings.

I read somewhere (but too lazy to research it) yesterday that the flood we experienced (up to 60 inches of rain in four days) was in fact, biblical in proportion, and it is an event probably not experienced on the planet since Old Testament times. Wow – that means Noah built his ark and then Houston’s event was next. Think about that. We are all lucky just to be alive after a crazy event like that.

Then you have California, which burned up like never before; there were the other hurricanes and storms, the earthquakes, and just thinking about the year brings me back to the most basic reason to be thankful this year at Thanksgiving: We are the fortunate ones to still be alive to celebrate.

For those of us who are healthy and are enjoying the health of family members as well, we are even luckier. My 90-year-old dad is going strong and so thrilled to be part of our cozy family celebrations, filled with great food and good cheer, and tons of family love.

I had my own health scare a short time ago this year, and I am grateful to have the vibrant good health I have today after a bunch of tests confirmed I was okay.

I will be thankful for a beautiful, lovely, warm, cozy roof above my head that really really feels like home.

I will be thankful to be surrounded by all four of my children because I am lucky enough to have married off BOTH my children in the past year doubling their number and lucky me has them as family now. (Wish my husband’s kids were here with us too.) And I will be feeling grateful that they all reside in Houston with me.

And last, I will be thankful I live in Houston, which despite the weather disasters of the past few years has been the most wonderful, community-minded, friendliest place to live with the best arts, green space, fun things to do, great food, and moderate weather. (except for disasters) My friends and acquaintances here are beyond compare. I wouldn’t want to call any other place home.

So it is down to basics this year: being thankful for the survival of a disaster, good health, a roof over our heads that is intact, and family who we adore surrounding us in a city we love. Anything else, really, is just trivial.

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.

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