LOVE & GRATITUDE

Yesterday was Thanksgiving, a day when families and friends come together to share food, drink, laughs, memories, family fights or just about anything can happen. Giving thanks and gratitude for our food or harvest part of this special holidays meaning. A holiday rich in tradition and history.

My day was spent in a long family tradition of going to a relatives in the hills on Staten Island.  I’ve gone to this home since I was a small child and am blessed to have shared many wonderful Thanksgiving’s there.

Rejoice! Yeah! No Traffic! Luckily, traffic was all going in the opposite direction.  Since Staten Island is an island, bridges are the only way onto this New York island.  Sitting in traffic can be a norm so cruising right there was smooth sailing. What a relief, that alone was truly joyous.

From this home in the hills, my favorite room at the back side of the house has an expansive window so you can view the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, some of New York, the Atlantic Ocean and other scenery. It’s a fabulous view from on Staten Island.  My other favorite room is the library filled with lots and lots of books.

Staten Island was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. Looking straight out the window it just looks like scenery but beyond the mirage comes neighborhoods destroyed not viewed by the naked eye from this room.  My relatives were blessed to be in the hills. They had between seven to twelve days with no electricity, that’s a long time plus some other minor damage.  Some proclaimed how they never experienced anything as tragic as this event. Food, gas, electricity, heat and a roof over our heads are needed by everyone.  Compassion is strongly felt for those who suffered most from Hurricane Sandy’s wrath.

Knowing many families just down the road were suffering is sad and tragic.  It made this Thanksgiving all the more memorable in some ways, the devastation equally  terrible in other areas of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, etc.  People never truly understand an event until they experience or witness something firsthand.

An older Japanese man spoke of how you never know what will happen in your life.  Yup, that is the truth!  His home was destroyed, burnt to the ground during the war in Japan. His memories of planes flying with bombs and the destruction must have been terribly tragic. Seeing this local devastation from Hurricane Sandy, brought back his thoughts and memories to more difficult and sadder times in Japan.

When we relive old memories of grief, loss and trauma we experience triggers also called landmines.  There are three types of triggers: 1.) Memory triggers – which are from any type of memory 2.) Time Triggers – are memories from special days or occasions, holidays or any other particular time event 3.) Sensory Triggers – a memory occurs from something sensory.  An example of a sensory trigger could be the smell of perfume that reminds you of someone you loved whose now deceased.

Memories of absent or deceased loved ones come to the holiday dinner table too, to share in the meal.  A toast or prayer, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, creamed spinach, a special cousin’s cheesecake and an assortment of other yummy goodies.  I gobbled a bit too much, that second piece of cheesecake did me in.

With love and gratitude for being safe, warm and feed this Thanksgiving Holiday! Amen!

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