Unless I was on an acting gig, I've spent pretty much every Thanksgiving with my father, W Michael Donovan. Some years we were in Allentown, other years we were in New York City, and one year he came up to Ithaca to take care of me after my wisdom teeth surgery.
For me, this holiday is intrinsically tied to Dad. Last year I cooked my first turkey in the company of Dad and good friends, and we laughed the night away, shared a beer or five, and watched football.
My decision for this year has been to refuse to allow myself to mope. I absolutely will not wallow in the sadness that won't go away, I will overcome it by bringing myself joy, and giving myself opportunities to grieve with a smile.
This year I just finished cooking eggs and bacon for everyone, I pulled the turkey out of the brine I helped prep for Sarah's friendsgiving, I have my wonderful mother Debba staying with me, and I'll be having thanksgiving dinner with my brother Will and new friends.
I had a rough spot about a week ago where I thought "what the hell am I gonna be thankful for this thanksgiving? This year has sucked in every measurable metric."
Well this year I'm thankful for all of you, my friends, who quite literally are the reason I've made it through this year. I'm thankful to live in a diverse city surrounded by as much culture as anyone could ever want. I'm thankful for a wonderful, supportive family. I'm thankful for the career I've chosen as my own, and the people who've guided me along the way.
But this year, most of all, I'm thankful for hospitals and all the wonderful humans who work in them, be they doctors, nurses, food court cashiers, janitors, orderlies, security guards, whatever. I've spent a lot of time this year in hospitals, whether watching my father pass away with love and care and dignity from the staff at the Jeanes Hospital in Philly after they gave him all of their effort to pull him through his pneumonia/leukemia, to watching my mother spend time in three, world-class hospitals to have them successfully remove the tumor from her gut, and put her on the path to full health, to the team who cut the polyp off of my vocal cords and helped save my career.
This world has heroes, and many of them are unsung and work grueling hours at pivotal institutions around this nation and the world, many today, instead of spending thanksgiving with their families.
In 2016 they have done so much for me and my family, and today I am so very, very thankful
Grief is a hard thing for me to talk about. This year has taught me more about grief than I thought I ever would learn at 26/27; and given me a pretty constant, oppressive sense of sorrow to boot. They come and they go at the strangest times, in the strangest ways.
Today, I realized in looking at my calendar, is one of the most important days of my father's life. Today's the day he ran for mayor, running a campaign that absolutely gave the incumbent - who by trickery was listed as both the Republican and the Democratic candidate on the ballot - a run for his money. He had under 10% of the total money to work with of his opponent, and received 40% of the vote, absolutely annihilating his projections. He was told he'd never make it into double digits, and he blew that concept out of the water.
He was told he'd be gone in less than 72 hours. He lived almost 6 more days.
He taught me a lot about fighting even when the odds are against you.
As I sat next to his hospital bed in Philly, we had a lot of time to talk, and I had a lot of time to talk at him when he couldn't join in anymore. We talked about lots of things, from his past, to his hopes and dreams for me, to New England sports, to politics, to family. In his final days he was so thankful of the people who had come into and out of his life. He spent most of his time asking after certain people, or making sure that I would reach out to certain people he wouldn't be able to. People. It always came back to people. So when I talked at him, I told him stories about people. Some that he knew, some that he'd never have the fortune of knowing. I told him about people from my past, and my present. I told him about my fears, my dreams, my accomplishments, my failures. I told him I loved him.
If I learned anything from the experience of watching my father drift away into a sleep from which he'd never return, and then living alone in his house for months, taking care of his business, and then dealing with the emotional, mental, and life fallout from all of that, I learned that loneliness is sudden, oppressive, and often arrives without warning. And without people, people you trust, people you care about, there's almost nothing that can beat it back. And there will be times where those people won't be there, can't be there, and you have to face that loneliness yourself. So what do you do?
Me? I create.
I'm so excited to let you all know that The Hunted: Encore is now available on YouTube!
On Halloween we released our Rock Musical, Action Comedy web series to the internet and its been a blast having people watch it. The New York Times described it as: "fangs, fistfights and “Bite me” jokes, all set to guitar-driven musical numbers that will sound just like heaven to fans of 1980s straight-to-VHS action films." (New York Times)
The soundtrack for the show is available for purchase on Bandcamp.com. If you enjoy our show, please considering buying the album, as the proceeds go to paying our incredible composers, and funding a second season of our show. The album is minimum of $10, but you can pledge as much as you like to help us get another season funded! You can find the album at chargingmoosemedia.bandcamp.com
To learn more about our show, visit our Website at www.chargingmoosemedia.com/thehuntedencore.
To watch the whole show on YouTube, head on over to our channel and watch at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhSqA7vE5pHFTd1paS2hmaKaBKJqSIilz
Thanks for checking out our show, and if you like it, please tell all your friends and help us get the word out!
Photo by Danny Bristoll
(fac·to·tum | \ fak-ˈtō-təm) noun - a person having many diverse activities or responsibilities
I find myself hilarious, and I use this blog to stroke my own ego. Thanks for indulging me.