Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope everyone has a great Thursday where you spend most of it with friends and family and are thankful for what you have over this past year.
For our readers who aren’t from the United States, Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a harvest day, dating to America’s agrarian roots and a dinner celebrated in the 1600’s when Native Americans and British Pilgrims had a feast together around 1621. It has been a federal holiday since 1863. Today, most people aren’t farmers, so we spend this day with family and friends to celebrate what we are thankful for.
Like most of you, I am also happy to be celebrating Thanksgiving in general, For me, it also comes with a more somber note since my father won’t be there this Thursday.
My father passed away last July after fighting a number of ailments dating from March. That was when he spent time at the hospital or a rehab facility for the rest of his life. First, it was a pancreatic infection. Then it was gallbladder stones a month later. He improved quickly, but not enough to actually get back to his home. Then in late May, he had osteomyelitis in the spine. Osteomyelitis is a bone infection, and it can cause great pain.
For many if not most, osteomyelitis is quite treatable. Many people who get it can recover after several weeks. But in Dad’s case, it was ultimately fatal. That was because he was just too weak when he got it despite never having back surgery. In fact, he was receiving treatment for a couple weeks for that condition and wasn’t improving. Dad would cry often because of the pain in his back.
Instead of going blow by blow with what went down with my father’s illnesses, I’ll give you all the secret sauce to what made me a big sports fan. It was him.
Like many fathers do with their sons, they take them out to the ball game. Dad took me out to see my first
Wizards Bullets game at USAir Arena. We also watched the Capitals in the 1997-98 season when they made the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time. And I watched Orioles games at Camden Yards with him. The Nationals were still in Montreal back then.
Dad got to see the Bullets’ NBA Championship and their parade in 1978. And he even took Mom out to the bars in D.C. to celebrate when the Redskins were winning Super Bowls in the 1980’s and also in 1992, the last time they won it all. He was a big sports fan in the family and converted Mom, my sister, and I into fans as well.
I was especially happy to see that we got to see Washington, D.C. be a city of champions one last time last June. At that time, I could have went to Chinatown to watch the game with friends or to a restaurant to watch it. But at this point seeing Dad ailing like this, I just knew that I wasn’t going to be able to watch another big sports event with him again. So I am happy that I watched the game with him then.
About a week after the Capitals won the Stanley Cup, he was in hospice care. Early on, I was able to say a more formal-ish goodbye to him while he was still conscious and able to speak back. I am glad I did. Fortunately, he was able to respond and talk for a couple weeks. But after that, he drifted away. As tough as it was to see him go, I’d rather remember him for being a simple, yet nuanced man. And he was a strict, but still a fair and caring father as well.
So today, I’ll be thankful that Dad raised my younger sister and I. And I hope that I can be as good of a man he was. It will be difficult to see that he won’t be here this Thanksgiving, but I’m still thankful for the time I had with him while he raised me and while he was ailing.
I hope that you all are thankful for something that comes with more pleasant pretenses or meanings. At least for me, it has been tough because it was the first time I lost a parent. I’m not a kid anymore of course. But at the same time, I feel sad that Dad is no longer here.
Let us know what you are thankful for, whether it’s for the Wizards, Mystics, Go-Go, your family, your job — anything. Sometimes, it’s good to just reflect and look back when giving your thank you’s.
We hope you all have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving this weekend.