On Giving Thanks
Despite the fact that THAT is on my neighbor’s front lawn, I’m going to overlook it and give thanks that he mowed my lawn last week, unsolicited.
Today, though I of course must thank the human animals in my life, it’s the nonhumans I want to concentrate on, as they have taught me volumes about generosity, compassion, integrity, unconditional love, loyalty and kindness.
To my grandmother, who had a boundless capacity for adventure yet could wring every last drop of enjoyment out of the most ordinary of days, I miss you and I love you and I’m grateful for our time together.
To my mother, with her desire to be involved in the lives of her children, always present, always available to help, listen, talk or simply hug, I love you and I continue to be grateful for you.
To my dad, with his intelligence, wit and creativity, always ready to debate about the Catholic church or deconstruct a classic film, thank you for always being there.
To my sister, whom I despised for the better part of my childhood but have grown to adore, I love you.
And of course, to my husband, for being everything I could ever want in a partner, except for that bit about political affiliation, but which I will let slide, thanks for being you.
My friends, who know who they are and know how important they are, will understand that I love them and am grateful for them, but that Brady is really important right now . . .
The first kitty I ever knew, Brady, who lived till 17, made me question why some animals are for eating and some are for petting. I’d also like to thank kitties: Bright Eyes, Simon, Tiger, Blue Cat, Budhi, Buddha, The Flutemaster General and Otis.
Muscovy ducks: Mr. Magoo, Big Meanie, Little Girl, Girlie Girl, Wilbur, Starsky, Little Guy, Grey Momma, Dark Grey Momma, Mr. and Mr. Sprinkle, Oreo Momma, New Guy, Speckle Momma, Grey Girl, Yellow Feet, Splat, Kamikaze, Number 2 and Messy Momma.
Pat the Limpkin, Opie the opossum, Somebody’s Warbler, Luna the wolf-hybrid, the Toucan-like creature, and Lovey Dovey cannot be forgotten.
And of course, Emily Fokker, Violet Rays and Charles Hobson Booger, III, I love you and thank you for all you’ve taught me.
Over 100 animals have come into my life and died shortly thereafter. Their deaths were a gift for me in that they showed me how important it is to not walk away from suffering. Witnessing suffering, and sometimes ending it, and being present with a sentient being as she takes her last breath–acknowledging her life and death–is a gift to both of you. And of course, there is nothing better, yet more basic, than the simple gift of life, which often comes in the form of refraining from taking life.
Thank you all for reading.