Asheegh musicians of Azerbaijan perform at Tehran's City Hall. Photo from Fars News.Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. It is a day when families gather around each other, have a sumptuous meal and say thanks for what they have in their lives. I am going to my older sister's house to be with friends and family. For the past 30 years, I have celebrated Thanksgiving. I have celebrated it in the US in a student one-bedroom suite, in houses filled with people and food, in Iran with family and friends, and at friends’ houses while travelling. It is a time for reflection and evaluation for me. By all accounts this has been a hard year for me. I have cried more than I have during recent years, even through my saddest times. I have felt more than my fair share of compassion, sorrow, and love for others. I have had to say hello to some changes in my life and I have had to bid farewell to things and people who have been important to me in one way or another. In joy and in sadness, I have cried buckets this year! I am grateful for my life, which is beautiful and full of love. I am thankful for my family and for my friends. I am thankful for you! I appreciate everyone’s good health and my family’s patience in dealing with what must have been a very hard year for some of them. My sweet and beautiful niece has been run down by a mysterious illness all year and the side effects of the medications she has been using have taken a toll on her beautiful and healthy body, that of a 21-year-old’s. My sweet aunt passed away this year and our family had to endure the loss with grace and love for one another. I had to let go of some things which had grown dear and special to me. I couldn’t find a way to negotiate, to change course, or to think of alternatives. I just had to let go completely and spontaneously, without a chance to try changing things because the situations did not lend themselves to change. They had to be abandoned. That has left me sad and despondent. Well, what can I say? I have learned from the situations and hopefully, I will see them coming if they happens again. I had my past visit me yet again. It was a sad time for me. I remembered all the hard work I had done for love, to keep things from deteriorating and how in the end, I had accepted that fate. When your past knocks on your door, you wonder about the cosmic reasons for it. Was it something I did wrong and I am now extended a chance to set it right? Could I have avoided what became inevitable? What would I do with my past in my present life? Could some things which caused so much pain in another time of my life bring me joy in this one? I doubt it. I had to let go of my past yet again, pulling myself up and looking ahead, the only thing I know how to do well! Except for my kids, I neglected most of my other family members this past year. I spent a great deal of time by myself, thinking and doing things. That has not been good for my soul. A family’s love may not be entirely unconditional, but it is flowing and endless and in its very core, selfless. I need to be better at calling and visiting my kin, and now that I have relieved myself of some huge and time-consuming volunteer work I was doing, I think I may do just that. It is a time to be thankful and appreciative of what still is, and letting go of what is no longer. I am embracing the chance. I am going to love life like there is no tomorrow. I am going to do better. Starting today. Happy Thanksgiving everybody. Enjoy your time together and be good. Eat as much as you like, laugh as much as you can, and when the little and big rascal family members, nieces and nephews and cousins go by, jump to your feet, go over, hug them, kiss them no matter how much they resist you, and shout in their ears: Dardet be joonam, I love you!