First Rain, Monterey, California

Thanksgiving evening after dessert, our host passed around paper and pens and asked us to write down things we’re grateful for. I immediately resisted because those games are usually corny to me. But I came up with a few things and jotted them down, and we went around the table, people reading their list, and the first thing that struck me was the sincerity on people’s faces, and the careful attendance everyone was giving. The woman to my right mentioned stable health, which hinted at an ongoing struggle. Next to her was Morrie, wearing his forty-year-old tweed sports jacket.

“I don’t care about all this little stuff anymore,” he said. “I’m grateful for my wife and the life we had.  She died ten years ago. I’m ninety years old, and still here to talk about our life together.”

I woke up this morning thinking about Morrie’s stories. He wasn’t bitter because his wife died, the love of his life, though he clearly missed her; he was grateful for her and the love they shared. What a beautiful piece of alchemy, turning death and loss into appreciation.