Thanksgiving in a Pandemic

I’ve been in a bit of a funk the last week or so. It’s COVID, it’s politics, it’s the weather. November is  hard for me. I hate when the trees lose their leaves, the grass turns brown, the sky turns gray, the temperature drops.

So I am going to take the advice of an old friend and list the top ten things that fill me with gratitude—in no particular order. I find when I focus on the things for which I am grateful, it makes me feel better. So here goes.

  1. I am thankful for my husband and my children and my grandchildren. They are the rocks in my life, the ones who get me from spot to spot, no matter how roiling is the water beneath our feet.
  2. I am thankful for my parents. My father is gone, and my mother is struggling. But they were a constant source of love and support in my life, and I hold all the memories close to my heart.
  3. I am thankful for the rest of my family, including all the cousins I’ve found on this genealogy journey. They all remind me how connected we all are—all humans—regardless of where we grew up or when or how.
  4. I am thankful for my three cats, whose ability to live in the moment and to provide constant companionship, affection, and comfort has been so very important during the last nine months.
  5. I am thankful for my friends—my friends from high school, from college, from law school, and from the community where I have lived since 1983. So many times in the last nine months I have turned to my friends—by Zoom, text, telephone, email. They have made me laugh, they have given me perspective, they have given me strength. I hope I’ve done the same for them.
  6. I am thankful for the genealogy village—those who read my blog, those who help me with my research and with translations, those in the Facebook groups who comment and help answer my questions. Family history research has been one way I’ve escaped from the anxiety of the pandemic. It has given me focus and a distraction and continues to keep my brain working.
  7. I am thankful for the good fortune I have to live in a comfortable house in a wonderful community of neighbors. In the course of our daily walks we’ve gotten to know our neighbors and their dogs and feel so fortunate to live where we live.
  8. I am thankful that I don’t have to worry about where my next meal will come from or whether I will be able to get adequate medical care or whether I will be harassed or injured because of my race. In a time when so much feels dangerous, I’ve learned more than ever to appreciate just how privileged I am.
  9. I am thankful for the beautiful world we live in. We’ve taken walks and hikes in places we never knew about before and in places that we’ve always loved—the beach and the woods, the mountains and the lakes. I learned early on that getting into a quiet place surrounded by nature was often the best thing to do to find solace and calm the noise in my head.
  10. I am thankful for science and for doctors and nurses and all the frontline workers in hospitals and grocery stores and elsewhere who are putting their lives on the line to do everything possible to keep us safe.

That’s my top ten. There are probably hundreds if not thousands more. What are yours?

Happy Thanksgiving!

30 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in a Pandemic

  1. There are so many things/events to distract and surrounds us with our worlds events that keeps us from what is really important …the thankfulness and gratitude you shared. Wonderful list Amy – keep smiling keep focused and enjoy a lovely day – I am thankful for you! I can always count on a posting each week, if not two, to read and thats a highlight for me 🙂

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  2. Amy, I am also thankful for you. You bring sunshine and understanding in times of darkness and confusion. If genealogy is akin to strengthening the roots of our tree, we are standing taller because of you.

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    • Oh, Ken, thank you so much! I’ve so enjoyed working with you and getting to know you. Someday we will know who all those mystery people are! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  3. HI, Amy. We are thankful to have found you. You connect us (the extended Vogel-Heimerdinger family) to a family that extends back through both light and dark of history. That is life throughout the ages and we are forced to deal with the dark wisely and be thankful for the light. It was the book Caste that brought me to look for more family history in Germany. That book taught me that we have lived through and continue to live through some dark times but that there are increments of change that give me hope through the undeniable ugliness. I hope that you are lifted soon from your low point and remember that the only way now is up! Enjoy your family, your cats,and knowing that your passion for genealogy emanates to so many who are enlightened by it.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts today. Happy Thanksgiving! The light is on its way to you.
    Mei Mei (Fran)

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    • Thank you so much, Mei Mei, for those wonderful thoughts. Caste is on my list of books to read because of you! I am so glad you found me!! Our family zoom with all of you was one of the highlights of my year! xo

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  4. Amy, thankyou for being you, and being constant with your posts. Thankyou for your book. You are a kindred spirit…..I echo your sentiment regarding your list. I am thankful for being European and relieved I’m not stuck in a shanty town somewhere else.

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  5. This week on Facebook I’ve been posting things I’ve been grateful for. I was challenged to do it for 7 days. The challenge is nearly complete, but my list isn’t, so I intend to keep going, because counting blessings truly does help dispel the gloom. One of the things I’m grateful for is you! I’m grateful for your blog, for the commonalities and situational connecting we’ve found. I’m grateful for your encouragement to start my own blog, which has led me to more discoveries in my own family. I’m grateful for the light and joy your being to others through your writing. One day i hope to meet you in person, and if I’m that lucky, I’ll be grateful for that as well. G-d bless and keep you and your loved ones safe.

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  6. How lovely we got in touch and actually met several years ago!! Some of your and my projects
    focussed on the same local area which led to correspondance und in-person-meeting.
    I will always remember meeeting in Bingen on the Rhine. Let us stay in touch.
    All the best to you, Dorothee

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    • Hi Dorothee—I cherish those memories of being with you in Gau Algesheim. Such a special day. And I am now in touch with another fan of yours—Susan Neulist, whose mother grew up in Wiesbaden! We recently connected (she is related to me through my Goldschmidt family), and in telling me about her own journey to Germany, she mentioned your name in glowing terms!

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  7. That’s a great list and includes much the same as mine. I hope the exercise lifted your mood. Gray/brown season really can be a drag. Wishing you some bright sunny days and interesting research challenges and rewards!

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