In the Spirit of Giving Thanks…

fallIt’s been one of those years during which I’ve been forced to take stock of my life. I lost a lot, but I lived really hard. And I loved with more of my heart than ever, even if at times, I felt like someone just ripped it right out of my chest and stepped on it. But I remain grateful for all I still have. And I’m one lucky girl.

Now, let’s all raise a glass of lemon aid this Thanksgiving. Remember the GOOD that’s still in your life. Not the bad. And say thank you to those who really made a difference in your own personal space over the last year.

Above and beyond everything, I am so thankful that I had Andrew in my life for twenty-five years. Friendships like the one I shared with him comes MAYBE once in a lifetime. He was that one person who knew me better than I knew myself. I’m thankful that I saw him and spent some beautiful moments with him back in the summer. I harbor zero regrets in his passing. And I’m grateful for all of the silly memories of him that made me laugh through my tears.

I am also so blessed to have Rachel in my life. We’re an ocean apart, and and yet she made sure she knew what the hell was going on with me every time I had to run to the hospital. And if you read me, you really should thank her for my books. Not me. When I lost sight, she gave me the hope that I could still write.  As my editor, she had to adapt to reading the work of someone who didn’t always know what words she’d typed on a page. Through it all, we shared some really good laughs, too. She’s my sounding board. She’s my guide. And above all, her friendship is so very true.

And we have my crew here. Greg, Paula, Joanne, Missy A., Cristin, Mel, Anna, Dave, Carol, Sheree and Caity.

In spite of his troubles in finding Lady Gaga on the Superbowl, Greg’s calm wisdom always got me through — from talking to my surgeon to convincing me to use a white cane. But, oh, damn, he makes me laugh, too. We’ve known each other so long, and he knows where all the bodies are buried. This is why he’s been named World’s Best Fairy Godfather of 2017.

PAULA. The big sister I never had as an only child. She took Coop while I had brain surgery, trekked in the snow to get us both home (the snow was deep and P hates winter!), and took Coop again so that I could see Andrew for one last time. All the while, she had her own sadness with her brother’s illness and passing. Our Drews are together now. But we’re still here, and we have a lot of life to live yet…

Joanne. My all-time favorite native New Yorker. And Francophile. Our conversations kept me going. So did the fact that I can just swear like the motherfucking sailor in my soul around her. She reminds me in all the best ways of my mom. You can still toss around the eff word and exhibit the greatest of class.

Missy and Cristin, from afar, they both proved to me again that I made such beautiful friendships in college. Time and miles don’t matter. I got Missy down here in September. Next up, Cristin and the wife. Um, PRIDEFEST? Bring it!

Melissa, Anna and Carol…proved to me that I’m still a lady who can lunch. And dinner and a show, too. Even with my steampunk glasses.

Dave. Andrew’s bestie from high school. We inherited each other in Andrew’s will. And we’re both OK with that. And I can now gross Dave out with photos of Alyssa Milano breastfeeding. (Andrew was pissed when I sent him that…) Plus, Dave gets all my 80’s references — and the Muppets.

And Sheree and Caity…my two greatest gifts in my vision loss. They both put me in a place of YES. They’ve never told me no. They’ve only encouraged me to be the same person I was before I lost sight. They don’t even realize it, but my respect for them is through the roof.

These are the memories I’ll think about on Thursday as I do my traditional dinner at Paula’s. She hosts all of us “orphans” every year, and we all have the best time. Some of us only see each other once a year, and that’s okay. Her mom travels from New Hampshire, and she always has stories to tell. Meanwhile, Paula doesn’t just cook a feast for us — she delivers plates to her doormen in her building, too. THAT is the spirit of giving thanks. Spending the holiday at her place always reminds me of all the best reasons why I moved to New York. We’re all one in this crowded town, and we all share common ground.

I wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Eat too much. Drink too much. INDULGE. And say a few words to those you love. Just make sure they know how much they mean to you.





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Juliet Braddock loves eighties music, wine, food, theater and all things French. When she’s not exploring the big cities of the world—most notably Paris—she lives and writes in Manhattan, and is the proud cat mom to a very spoiled Russian Blue rescue.

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