Lately, it seems that at every turn, I am reminded of reasons why I am thankful. I swear to god, there is not a person in this world who has been more lucky than me. I have everything I have ever wanted. I need for nothing. I am loved and healthy. If I believed in such things, I would suppose that I may be charmed or blessed.
It is World AIDS Day. For reasons I can't explain, I feel profoundly thankful that my family and friends who are negative continue to remain so. And while I don't think about it so much anymore, there are times when I am reminded to be incredibly thankful that my friends who are positive continue to stay healthy. But I worry. It's what I do.
My friends have lost people they love this year. Specifically, two friends have lost their fathers. I am thankful that I have yet had to tell my children that a grandparent has died. My father and my mother-in-law are not healthy people. But they continue to live productive and happy lives. Even my grandparents are still alive and relatively well. Yet a book titled I Miss You, A First Look at Death sits on my bookcase waiting for the right time to be read. I don't think I can handle a loss anywhere near as gracefully as my friends have. My heart twists for them.
I know too many loving couples who are struggling to conceive a child. I was goddamned fucking lucky to be able to conceive, carry and deliver two children with relative ease. I know it. I am thankful for it. I am even more lucky that my children are very healthy and happy. And I am luckier still that my husband has always been a true partner and wonderful father. And that he was by my side while both of my children were born.
My husband got a notice about non-voluntary deployments to Iraq this week. Isn't non-voluntary such a nice way to put it? One of them is for a job as a liason to the new Iraqi government. I told my husband that didn't sound like much fun. "It sounds fucking dangerous," was his assement. I am abso-fucking-lutely grateful that at the bottom of that notice in very fine small print was an explanation that officers of his rank were welcome to volunteer, but would not be non-volled for the assignment. He's been deployed enough since 2001 to do his duty, but not so much to be in excessive danger or change the dynamics of our family or our partnership for the worse. When he flies out on his next TDY (next week) to a nice safe continental base, I will be thankful he is safe and close. And I will feel deep gratitude and respect for the families of soldiers who are deployed all over the world.
There is so much more. My friends struggle to pay rent, and I am thankful for all that I can afford. I wish I could do more. My friends are ill and I feel so lucky to be healthy, even when I don't take care of myself. People I love are hurt, alone, scared and in pain. And I feel for them deeply. Yet it is only my empathy that causes me pain. Sure I have been hurt. But I have always been able to forgive or move on. I'm good at moving on. I'm thankful for that.
All of this gets in my brain and I can't let it go. Lately I've been spending the hours after my husband is in bed, but before I am exhasuted enough to fall asleep looking for distractions. Any distractions.
Tonight Brian gave me the idea to Google me ex-boyfriends. I had honestly never thought of it before. But Patrick and I happened to bring up the "Oh! Duh! He's was so gay!" moment I had about one of them recently. So I thought it sounded like a good distration.
The first one is the same rank as my husband but in the Navy AND an M.D. He is an orthopedic surgeon. I knew he'd be a doctor someday. I'm surprised he went the military route though. Especially since he probably had to get off the steroids to pass the drug tests.
Two of the others have such common names that they happen to share will celebrties that finding a web identity for them was impossible. But I did find one more. I had briefly dated Brian in high school while my best friend was dating his brother.
I knew what had become of him before. But it was like someone out there felt the need to remind me one more time of just how lucky I am. I found him here. And here.
29 was too fucking young. Rest in peace, Brian.
I swear, I will never be anything but thankful ever again.