Looking at a picture of Mac from Friday night's sneak peek and noticing that he can still smile until his eyes twinkle despite everything he has been through.
Having had my Dad three blocks away these past three months.
Knowing that I'll be spending Thanksgiving with a bunch of my caregivers and family. Knowing that is what I want to be doing on Thanksgiving.
The Forbes Norris ALS Clinic. Not because they are going to save my ass, because they won't, but because they are all great at their jobs and wonderful, funny and compassionate human beings.
The faculty and staff at The College of Marin who have not forgotten a colleague and continue to help.
The documentary sneak peek at The College of Marin.
Ronald cooing " I lo-ove you - I'm gonna kiiiiilll you" and then counting to 4.
I'm grateful for the students who have made me laugh for 16 years, who show up a dozen years after having a class with me to let me know they haven't forgotten me and for continuing to be in my life. For making me proud.
I'm grateful that one of my students became my caregiver and is traveling back here all the way from New York for Thanksgiving.
My friends. Always my friends. I'm grateful for them when I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed at night because they could have bailed, but instead they have chosen to take on this painful journey. Lots of people have not been able to hack it but many of my girlfriends show up every week. Thinking about ways to help me occupies time when they aren't with me. I don't even want to think about how much money they have spent on me. Its amazing to know that you can send out an email or make a phone call and whatever you need will be taken care of by the end of the day. About a month ago I sent an email to my brother and to several of my close friends saying that I was having a hard time and I didn't know if I could keep going without losing it. It was about 9 or 9:30am. The first one through the door was Edith at around 11. Kathy, Wendy and Kris showed up shortly after. Kaila came by at 12:30. While they were all there my brother called. Let me emphasize I had not asked anyone to call or come over. It's nothing short of miraculous to me to have people just show up.
My friends. I have friends I don't get to see as much because of their work schedules, young kids, etc. I'm grateful for their phone calls and their emails with youtube links and interesting forwards (well not the forwards that make you send them on to ten strong beautiful women you know and not emails of adorable kittens or puppies in the body of the email. I must admit - even if somebody had sent me a chain email saying "Please send this to 10 of your best friends or you will get ALS" I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have forwarded the email...wait a minute, maybe that's what happened.) Anyway, I'm grateful to those friends for showing up in the way that they can.
Pricks I'm not in relationships with. I'm grateful to all the pricks out there who are not currently in a relationship with me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for not being my prick boyfriend that I should dump but I don't. I'm not grateful to all the really great guys who are not my boyfriend, unless they are somebody else's boyfriend. Awkward!
Psychos who are no longer my caregiver. Thanks for that.
I'm grateful to my new friends who have ALS. Because I hate acronyms, I won't call you my PALS , but I will pal around with you and even get a tattoo with you. Yes, I'm talking to you Gimp Girl.
I'm grateful that Mac calls me pretty much every day and tells me things I don't understand about politics. I'm grateful for his heavy breathing as he talks on speaker phone while riding his bike across the campus, for the loud music rattling through the cafeteria and distorting his voice and for the interruptions as he orders fettucini or greets roommates, because all of those background noises help me picture what his world looks like now. I am particularly grateful that he is away at school. It would have been great to have him around but its sweeter to know he is thriving and happy and creating a future for himself.
I'm grateful for all the friends and family from out of town who make the time to come and see me. I'm grateful for the extremely magical time with Stephanie who sat through a visit which included me being sick from a medication, exhausted from stress, having the most toxic and volatile parting with a caregiver since James Caan and Kathy Bates in Misery, a sneak peek of the movie where she had to share me with 500 other people and a subsequent day of me being barely able to lift my head from fatigue, nausea and dizziness. The weird part about the visit is that we both had a great time with each other. Not so surprising for me since it's a low bar these days, but for her to have had a good time in those circumstances gives you some idea of what kind of person she is. No, not masochistic, just really good.
I'm grateful for all the young people in my life from Mac and his friends to former students to my unique group of caregivers who run the gamut from artist to dancer to connoisseur of all things weed related to gun toting tattooed sweetie pies.
Unless this Jesus guy is everything he's cracked up to be and his supporters haven't given up praying to him on my behalf then this is my last Thanksgiving. Would you believe that this is the one I'm most grateful for? See that's the trick about gratitude. It doesn't count if you are only grateful on the good days. It's a cumulative thing and it spreads and it grows and it's a fuck of a lot better to be grateful when everything is shitty than to be thinking about how shitty it is.
Everything gets harder, every day more challenging but loving this life and the people it has brought to me paradoxically gets easier and easier. If I had a time machine I would go back to when I was a teenager and I would whisper in my own ear all the things I've learned in my almost two years with ALS and you know what... I probably wouldn't listen to me. Some things you need to learn your own self.
And it's all worth it. And it's a privilege to be here.
Message to god (If that's your name): Yo G! We cool.