They say that gratitude is a year-round practice, and that we can be thankful on days other than Thanksgiving. Every time I stand up, I am grateful. Every stair I climb, every tangerine I peel, every egg I beat, every stroke I swim — grateful. When I roll over in bed, when I drive alone in my car, when I take another medicine off the list — thankful.
And here are some of the specific people, places, and things that have helped get me here, eight months after I almost missed the whole thing.
Our sweet lady guesthouse OLVG and every other doctor, nurse, physical therapist, and other helpers
To family in Norway, I’m so sorry that my illness caused us to miss our date at the Oslo Opera! To extended family in America, your electronic cards-and-letters have sustained me.
And here’s to my immediate folks:
To friends who sent prayers, support, and heartfelt messages across Facebook as our daughter let people know what had happened: thank you! You pulled this chatty, silly, warrior woman through.
To my former exercise students who cheered me on for all those months in Amsterdam and have treated me to breakfast and more cheers now that I’m back, thank you!
To our neighbors, who looked out for our house while we were away, lent support when we got home, and gave me thumbs up as I worked my way up from walker to cane to just me: thank you!
And to my writer friends, cheers for all our success!
Dog Support & support dogs
To Pancho, V’s dog, who saw me go from pokey around the ‘hood to mile-charging along the beach: thank you! To Levi, who lifted my spirits with his story: thank you!
Renewal. Reflection. Recollection. This baby is now the amazing 27 year-old woman who rescued us in Amsterdam.
On Christmas Eve, Victoria and Christian will be here to enjoy the dinner I grew up with: tacos, my mother’s re-invention of Venezuelan hallacas.
In Amsterdam, they told me I had two guardian angels on my shoulder. My Muslim roommates told me that we each have five guardian angels: one to the right, one to the left, one behind, one in front, and one over our head. So, maybe there’s a reason the ladies in the Milan pensione gave me this little angel at Christmas in 1959.