This is the first time in her 83.8 years my dear mother, Janet, is without a single family member to share the holiday. I was just in California and will be there again in 2.5 weeks. My older brothers, Michael and David, are with their wives and families. And, my younger brother Carl checked out in May of 2009. She is having dinner with a dear family friend, Peter S., so technically she is not without family.
Carl's birthday was 11/22. After a year and some change, there are still frequent occasions when I want to stand in the middle of the street and scream that it cannot be so, that he cannot be dead.
I manage to maintain on the outside. The inside beats the cage to no avail.
I miss Carl all the time. He did love his family, although we older ones did not convene so very often. We always laughed and talked about music. Music is the bond that is the most missed for me, and, I believe, for my brother David.
I write this list somewhat late at night after some cooking and wine imbibing. Darlings, please forgive omissions.
But this year, I can be thankful for some things. I reconnected with my another friend, Kimberly. We listened to Joni Mitchell, and Fleetwood Mac, and who knows what else through high school. Kim can answer all my questions about the difference between the Statocaster tone and the Telecaster tone. She can listen to Aretha Franklin and Richard Thompson repeatedly with all of my enthusiasm. And for this I am thankful. (Now Be Thankful, lyrics)
I am thankful to meet Kim's partner, Ginny, who has a unique grace and brings a quiet attention to my life.
Kim introduced me to Larry and Liz of Schroon Lake, New York. Fast friends at first sight. As well, Kim and Ginny's next-door-neighbor; Brenna M. is a sistah of the wine and literature kind.
I reconnected with several of my childhood friends, Darlene, Theresa, and Kathy.
I am thankful for the excellent work I did with Elizabeth Swados, Roz Lichter, and Preston Martin.
I am thankful for the collaboration of Louise Gikow, Robert Wurzburg, Nanette Kuehn, Iris Sroka, and especially my soulbrother, Jason Rosen.
I am thankful for the close and supportive relationships I have with Betts Brown, Reeves Blakeslee, and the guy who always has my back, John Volny.
I am thankful to meet my dear friend Pamela Earlene Manley LeGault's son, Michael and his beloved Michelle. I am thankful that Pammie has the energy to continue to fight her physical problems and pain and stay with us.
I am thankful for the time off I have had, which has allowed me time to read read read. And I am thankful for all the great great books I have read.
I am thankful for the friends who have surrounded Janet with love and support: Teri, Debee, Fico, Peter, as well as her friends as church. And Ariel and Max, her cats.
I am thankful for my supporters/mental health workers: S, K, and P.
I am thankful for my in-house mental house workers, Cooder, Miep,
and Maria (who left us this year).
I've had a wonderful time with my old friend Martha and all of her family, Jay (hubby ... and he would kill me for using that term), and the kids Brett, Anna, Emily, and Brett's gf Allison.
Laura, Chris, Carol, Karen, Matt, Kit, Eleanor, Michael W., F. M.B., Antonio, all the great folks I know from AOTM Splitters, Beth, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Erika T., Charlie Haas (novelist par excellence), Stuart, Lili, Janine, Wendy, Charlie S., Ken O...
And Bill G., and Susan U. and Leslie McGuirk.
For Eric and Kira Ryder and their kindest invitation to the Ojai Yoga Crib.
I could go on.
With my gratitude and thankfulness for all of you who cheered me on, held my hand, and kept me here.