Thursday, November 22, 2012

Grateful 2012

And so another Thanksgiving Day has arrived and I once again have looked forward to accounting the things I am most thankful for this year, here in my blog.

I could not even begin to count my blessings without first and foremost feeling the breathlessness I can encounter when I truly contemplate my partner in life. Joe, we have a wonderful marriage and a beautiful life together. You said yesterday you have wondered at times if God didn't pull us together to support one another through the very intense challenges we would encounter in our lives and I felt a warmth when you said it. I have always been grateful to you and known I would not be the person I am now if there had never been you. This year, I am thankful that I have been able to give even a little bit of that back to you. We have it all. You loved me through loss, through grief and through pain and now have loved me through achievement, through material gain and through my bafflement as life swirls and changes in positive ways around me. Of all people on earth, perhaps only you know the depth of my soul and I am thankful for that in a way that is indescribable. I get to witness your life. You get to witness mine. That is a blessing I do not deserve and am humbled to have.

I give thanks to you, Nick, my wonderful fiery haired man-child. You have such a zest for life. Lately, as I watch you enjoying this final year of high school, I am struck with the intensity that you experience the world. When you are joyful, it fairly crackles off you and I cannot resist letting that fill me up. I am so thankful you are finding things to feel good about in life. You have had to endure so much at such a young age. Every parent wants to believe their child is growing into someone they are proud of. My pride is you is indescribable. Part of me wants to hold you right here, in this phase. Part of me cannot wait to see where you are headed to. You are a wonderful son and I am so thankful you are mine.

Alex, you continue to amaze me with all you are doing in your world. You have layers upon layers of emotion, experiences, desires and goals. Seeing you strive to learn and grow, witnessing the hugeness of your heart and feeling your love for your friends, your family, your cat and your God gives peace and hope. I love the way we talk together, how you linger at the dinner table and I am grateful every time I ask you for help on something that you are able, willing and pleasant about the tasks being tackled. The whole world lies before you, waiting for your mark. I am so, so thankful I get to be your mother and that we have the great relationship we do.

Stewart, I give thanks for you today. You have given our sons a wonderful example of strength through hardship and fatherly love. I am thankful you are pursuing opportunities to make your world better and thankful you let me support you through that. You were not shy about supporting me as I struggled through nursing school and as I enjoy my new career. I am thrilled to see you growing and changing, using what we have gone through to build a better life.

Mom, I am thankful for your unwavering love, the laughter that we share and the time we get to spend together. I cannot imagine what I would do without you and I treasure relating to you as a grown-up. You are beautiful, inside and out.

Zumba girls, especially Angela, Teresa, Stephanie and Kim - you surprised me this year. I have never thought much of myself, my beauty, my body or my health and based on my own  body issues I often have been guilty of assuming those who have a healthier lifestyle would have no wish to know me or help me. How wrong I have been. You have pushed me hard, let me go and welcomed me back. You have reached out, not just for fitness reasons, but because you wanted to be friends. I have learned a lot from you this year and not all of it relating to how to make a better butt. I am thankful for you! For the hugs that welcome me back, for the words of support, for your continued good example and most of all, for feeling like I am important to you. You made me feel better about who I am, right now, in this moment.

Heather, Nessa, Felicia and Aislin, you are bright gifts in my life. I don't see as much of you as I want, but when I think of who would be there if my world fell apart again as it did six years ago, my thoughts immediately fly to you. Of all the friends I have, you have seen me the most naked, body and soul. I am thankful that each time life gets in the way, we find our ways back together and it is as if no time has gone by at all. You make me happy down into my heart and secure in an insecure world.

My work colleagues, you are just plain awesome. I have been a jumpy, insecure, passionate, eager new graduate. You have taken my nerves and settled them, my questions and answered them, my passions and focused them. You demonstrate to me every day that I am part of an elite, wonderful group and that makes me feel proud of where I am at in my career. You make me laugh both at the world and at myself. You are a quiet presence when the solemnity of what we do shows a dark face to our shift. I value you in a way I have never gotten to value co-workers before. Thank you for holding me up as I flounder and flap and fly into nursing, for making me feel welcomed to the team and for giving so much of yourself. I admire you, every day, all the time.

I don't know how to say how thankful I am for my job as a nurse. I love my patients and they give me way way way more than I give to them. I am humbled to get to do what I do. Cranky old men crack me up with their sarcasm, cranky old women quiet me with bits of wisdom. The mentally ill, the developmentally challenged, the young who didn't expect to be sick, the middle aged humbled by accidents or illness, the families wrestling with shifting family dynamics and difficult decisions - it just doesn't get more soul-naked than that. I am so privileged to be someone able to help, even if just by being a presence they can feel faith in. I love what I do. I LOVE what I do. I am thankful to my core for that.

And finally, I give thanks for all the things around me every day. I have a life of plenty and recognize at any given moment the things I enjoy, take for granted and count on could change. From property to people, nothing is static and everything changes. This year has been a good one for me. I thank God for this life. I thank God for the ability to heal, to learn, to grow. I thank God for Joseph, my dad, my grandparents. I thank God for stepkids and their spouses who have let me into their hearts. I am a lucky, lucky woman.

Monday, November 19, 2012


I am remembering you today. I am baking apple pies and I know you would have wanted to help. I am remembering coming home from your bone marrow transplant and celebrating Thanksgiving with you, in that blissful in-between when we still had some hope of your recovery, not just from the transplant but from the cancer and that ordeal as a whole. We still had hope for your life. It was a precious time, gilded and golden now in my memory. Pictures taken in my mind drift in hazy softness around my consciousness and I have you here, with me.

I was driving around doing some errands earlier today and contemplating some of the grief information that has come to me recently. I still remain pretty stuck I'm afraid. I am scared to let go of the sharpness of my missing you. I am scared to let you drift to a background thing. Questions and anxieties that only another grieving person might understand have prevented me from wholly embracing this life without you. I still miss you acutely. I still feel shock that it approaches six years since we said goodbye and let you go. And graduating from nursing school released a stop-gap that I had blanketed over the whole "moving on" thing without me even realizing it.

I tried out a new sensation today and it was so, so brief...but for one little second, I was able to feel what it might be like to remember you without this intense, burning sorrow. Without this dark, private, quiet little room that I keep hidden away, where I retreat to in furtive steps in between the other punctuation points of life. What if I let that little room go and just remembered you with joy? What would that mean?

I don't know the answer to it. I am scared to try it and not entirely sure why. I treasure so much this only relationship I have left with you, but I recognize it is not healthy nor good for me. I cannot fathom "letting you go".

So as I think of you today and remember you coming home for the last time, I am trying out what it feels like to just feel the happiness of those times and not the modifier of my sadness that we won't see you at the table yet again this year. I carry you in my pocket. I carry you in my heart.

Happy Thanksgiving Joe-Gi. I am thankful I got to be Mom, both to you and to your brothers.