This is a wonderful time of year to pause and count our blessings. Unfortunately for some, the holiday season is also one of sadness and loss. I lost my father a number of years ago, and Thanksgiving is when I find myself thinking of him often; a time when I feel his absence most acutely.
On top of that, a few days ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. We are meeting to discuss treatment with her surgeon on the day before Thanksgiving. For any of you who have not already hit the back button on your browser, I promise, this post will lighten up a bit. Stick with me.
Please note: This is a re-post of a Thanksgiving blog from a few years ago I wanted to share with new readers. And I’m very happy to say mom’s surgery went well and she’s doing great!
When my mother found out she had cancer last week, her first comment was, “this better not mess up our family Thanksgiving plans.” Thanksgiving has always been a big deal in our home. And while I’m confident my mom will get through this, I realize some day I will be the oldest member of my family.
Growing up as kids, we probably thought our parents would always be there. Even as we became adults, the knowledge they were still there was comforting. Eventually we all may be faced with empty chairs at our Thanksgiving tables. It’s our choice, though, how we allow that situation to affect us.
As for me, I will do my best to be grateful during the holidays for the time I had with those we’ve lost. My dad (a Naval aviator, businessman & rancher) was always bigger than life, and to me, he still is. That said, he taught me, no matter how big someone seemed, there was no one smaller than him.
On Thanksgiving he never failed to bring home “strays”; people he met who had no families to go home to, and sometimes no homes. He taught me both parts of the word “Thanks-Giving” were important. Be thankful for all you have, when you have it & them. And be sure to give to those who have less than you.
So these holidays, I’m grateful for all the wonderful memories I have of my dad, the time we spent together, and the lessons he taught me. He really never told me what he was doing or why… he simply taught by example. And I’m still learning new things from him as each year passes.
I’m confident my mom will beat the breast cancer and will be with us for many, many more Thanksgivings. But when the day comes that we have another empty chair at our holiday table, I’m going to be giving thanks yet again for all the wonderful memories and love we’ve shared.
In closing, I want to wish you and yours a very safe and happy holiday season. And if you, like many, have empty chairs at your holiday table, please try to count the many blessings the missing occupants of those chairs brought to your lives. Oh, and if you could say a prayer for my mom, I’d be grateful.