Although I have had many extremely unhappy Thanksgivings in my life, this day has always been my favorite holiday because of the traditional meaning of the day. It is a reflection of my profound faith as a Christian and it is the time of year, along with Christmas where I am focused on the many things I have to be thankful for and not thinking of the difficult things I have come to terms with that have happened in recent years.
When I write my articles, I try to write them for you: the people who read them. I only write about personal things when I think there is benefit by sharing my privacy with you. Then again, what I write I want to be interesting to you as well. As I share the things that I am grateful for, I am aware that this might not be so interesting to you, but I hope the thought that even under difficult circumstances that you might be experiencing, no matter how sad or painful, we do have things to be thankful for and when we remember those things, it makes the difficult things easier to bear.
Most of all, I am thankful for my wife Patty. I am very blessed that she has chosen to remain with me through my transition. Many, if not most marriages do not survive transition. I know that my decision to transition was and continues at times to be painful for her. Through it all she has chosen to stay with me and I am so thankful for that.
I’m also thankful that I found Dana to be my therapist. She is very gifted and guided me through my transitioned. She asked the hard questions and threw up every possible or potential roadblock or challenge I had to overcome and it resulted in my decision to transition with no regret. She helped me to finally put to rest past traumas and they don’t bother me anymore for the first time I can recall in many years. She “held my hand” when I was afraid and helped me find my courage to do what I needed to do to be happy. Thank you so much for all you did to help me, Dana.
I’m thankful for my dog Jack the bipolar beagle and my cats Taffy, Callie Sue and Jill. I’m especially thankful to still have Taffy who was diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago. He is still happy and active and is not in any pain. He is very special to me as he “picked” me as a kitten. He was a stray I found down at the country store. He was one of a litter of kittens down there. He wouldn’t have anything to do with anybody and no one could catch him, I was told. For some reason he came running up to me and he has always loved me best. Yellow cats are special, indeed!
I’m thankful for having a home and plenty of food to eat. There was a time when I didn’t have enough, though I can’t say I was starving, but I definitely was hungry a lot of the time and there was even a short period of time when I was homeless in a new city through my own stupid decision making. Sometimes it takes not having enough to eat and not having a place to live to make you remember to always be thankful for and never take for granted something as simple as having enough food and a home.
Even though at work we no longer get raises based on performance and no longer get cost of living increases in our wages, I am very grateful to have a job in my chosen career. This may not be true in the future with the coming of Obamacare when specialized care will become less available and strictly rationed as in other countries with socialized medicine that I read about, but that is not happening to me at the moment. Rather than worry about that day coming, I choose to be thankful for what I have today.
I’m thankful for my health and the health care providers I work with who take care of me and keep me well. I know they respect me and I am treated with the dignity I deserve.
I’m thankful that I had the opportunity and access to higher education. For any of us who are transsexual, education, whether academic or vocational in nature is the key to preventing many of the horrible things that happens to some of us.
While this may be difficult for some of you to understand, I am thankful for my father’s passing away peacefully last year three days after Christmas. He had suffered a great deal over the past two years of his life and spent most of it, especially in the last year, either in the hospital or in rehabilitation facilities when he would have preferred to be home. I miss him so much, but I also grieved for him a lot over the last two years and in his death I found relief from my own grief. He is at peace and home with God. He was a man of strong faith and it is the most important gift he gave to me as a child.
I’m thankful to have a very rich spiritual life; my faith in God has carried me through all of this, in good times and in difficult times.
Even though I hate winter and cold weather, along with the long dark nights, I am thankful for winter because without it I would not appreciate the beauty of spring, the warm long summer days and the beauty of autumn.
I know that some of you who read this are going through some difficult or even terrible times. I hope that this might be a small gift in some way and that it will encourage you to remember things that you have in your life that you can be grateful and thankful for, even if it is some of the little things you might not think about on a day to day basis and that will make today a little bit better for you.