(Thanksgiving meal, 2012)
On Thanksgiving day, 2012, I sat by myself in a hospital room. The lights were turned down low. It was quiet other than the chattering of nurses out in the hallway. It had been weeks since I had been able to take even one bite of solid food. My throat was damaged and I couldn't swallow correctly. However, that day I had finally passed the test to be able eat soft food. It had taken weeks of daily exercises to get to that point.
I sat with my legs dangling on the side of the bed. I stared down at my dinner plate. There were mashed potatoes, mashed stuffing, very soft turkey, mashed green bean salad, a roll, and then some soft desserts. I turned my head and looked out the hospital window. I felt so isolated. It was night, so the lights of the city were aglow. I thought about my family. I thought about my brother and mother a few floors from me in the I.C.U. I thought of all the happy families gathering together for Thanksgiving dinner at that very moment; the laughter and the joy they must be feeling. Then I looked back down at my plate.
It sounds like a depressing moment. It was. However, I knew my mother was probably feeling even more alone than me at that moment. She was all by herself watching my brother as the machines that were hooked to him beeped and pounded away at his sleeping body. I was so worried about him. He was so sick. I then thought of all the people who didn't have any family that holiday season.
I made myself try and think positive and be thankful. I at least knew I was loved. And no matter how bland the meal looked, I could eat it. That was progress. I was thankful for that. I made myself smile and then told myself, "Happy Thanksgiving." Then proceeded to take bite after bite.
I'm just simply remembering that moment. It's been three years since that night. I look back on it with sadness knowing what just a few short months later occurred. I am grateful, however, for the experience of that night. I learned to reach outside of what I was personally feeling and find something to be thankful for. I have come so far since then. I've had three healthy Thanksgivings since and they've all been surrounded by family. I am thankful for that.