Life is a paradox. Gratitude is decidedly not.

What follows is part essay, part dad update, part journal entry. Mostly though it is a love letter to gratitude. I haven’t seen anyone except for my mother (from about 50 feet away) since arriving in Columbus late on Monday. She has tested negative for Covid but has symptoms, so we are not clear.  I […]

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Contrasts Illuminate Gratitude
Contrasts Illuminate Gratitude

What follows is part essay, part dad update, part journal entry. Mostly though it is a love letter to gratitude.

I haven’t seen anyone except for my mother (from about 50 feet away) since arriving in Columbus late on Monday. She has tested negative for Covid but has symptoms, so we are not clear.  I am still waiting on my test results.

The last face-to-face conversation I had was with the state trooper who pulled me over as soon as I crossed the Columbus city limits. I drove for six hours and the last 20 minutes were when I got stopped. I am grateful that my story was so insane I couldn’t have made it up and so she didn’t have a choice. She had to let me off the hook.

For Thanksgiving dinner, many friends offered to cook for my mom and me. We took the first family’s generosity and graciously refused the others. I am so grateful for the friends who are all family here. We will eat in separate rooms – separate from my family across the country and separate from my dad who will be down the street. Grateful for it all.

My dad’s Covid is getting better, but progress is being stalled by a nasty lung infection. I spoke to him this morning and he sounds good. He just wants to get of there. That potentially will happen in a few days, but there are still a few hoops to jump through. Another contrast of emotions but with gratitude the overwhelming feeling.

There are moments of dark humor too – mixed with some absurdity. The hospital he is in is across the street from a cemetery – coincidentally where my sister is buried. Now that he has his phone, my dad’s Facebook location is saying he is at “Forest Lawn Memorial Garden” and people are calling my mom’s friends to ask if he died.

Yet another contrast. It is lovely that people are concerned, but what level of logic are they applying to this situation? A, would he take his phone to the grave with him??(battery would eventually die out, I would think) or B, Might people think that after he died we would change his location to there?? Then there’s this: How sad that every patient’s phone at that hospital could give their location as the cemetery!!!

Gratitude beats the contrast once again as he is in the hospital, not the cemetery.

Today, I walked outside getting my first fresh air in five days. It felt good. It’s been freezing rain here since I arrived. Everything in me is blocked from not connecting to real air. As a consequence, the walk was both welcomed and necessary.  I walked to Whole Foods about a mile away as it’s the only thing open. I wandered around there but didn’t get anything except a cup of coffee. I charmed the woman at the kiosk thing, so she gave me a medium instead of a small. (Even with a mask on, I still got “it”!) It was sweet but she doesn’t understand that I have perfected the ratios over the years and the chai to oat milk to 2 shots of espresso that I like is really best suited in a small. 🙂

Here also a mix of good and bad, with gratitude ruling the moment.

They are not doing regular housekeeping at the Hilton due to the pandemic. I have been here since Monday night so today I asked the front desk to have the room cleaned while I was out. When I got back, they hadn’t come yet. My room looked like a cross between a finely manicured office (the desk area) and a fraternity house (the rest of the room). A contrast in my habits. Grateful for the space though.

Housekeeping arrived at my room soon after I returned so I left to go to a metro park for a short hike. The elevator came and there was a guy in it because of social distancing, I tell him I’ll catch the next one. The doors shut and I was stuck and couldn’t press the button again because he was black, and I am convinced he thought I wouldn’t go in because I am racist. I think I’ve watched too much Larry David. 😅

The walk at Blendon Woods was beautiful and you will see in the photo I took, the gold amongst the grey. A contrast in colors – a beautiful contrast. The temperature was perfect but also open for interpretation. 52 degrees in my home, Southern California is “close up the windows, put on a jacket” time – you will even see some parkas and beanies at that temperature. In Ohio, in November, it’s “should I wear a sweater, or do I just need a windbreaker?” For my walk, 52 was perfect.

The walk itself was perfect too. I saw a black squirrel. I have never seen one before. It was mysterious and beautiful. By the time I got my phone out to snap a pic, it was gone. I think that means I wasn’t supposed to record the sighting anywhere other than in my consciousness. I will have to feel into what message that black squirrel was sending.

I’m out of the woods now, but my dad isn’t, the country isn’t, the world isn’t. But, I am grateful for the progress and I am grateful for all of you. Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020.

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