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Finding Things To Be Thankful For

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Years ago, my sister-in-law started a family tradition. Every Thanksgiving, after the meal everyone who's at the table writes on the tablecloth a few words about what they were thankful for in the past year, then signs it and writes the date.

Last year, she didn't use the Thanksgiving tablecloth because Bill had just died the day before, and we were all still in shock. But this year, she brought it out again and each person wrote down their thanks.

When it was my turn, I cried when I re-read all the things Bill had written there over past holidays. I didn't know what to write. What did I have to be thankful about? Certainly not 12 months of heartache and sleepless nights, or struggling to pick up the pieces of my shattered world. Or the people who have turned away from me because they can't see beyond their own discomfort with grief.

For a minute I thought of telling my in-laws, "I just can't do this now." Then I thought a little longer, and began to write:

"I'm thankful to God for giving me strength and hope during my dark hours, for His love, and for the dear family and friends who sustain me."

Those friends include all of you on this site whose caring and wisdom have kept me going and have given me the courage to deal with challenges I never thought I could tackle. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I hope that sometimes, what I post helps some of you.

What about you all: what blessings have you found among the sadness during your grief journey this year?

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Kath - your posts have helped tremendously, you don't know - so you can write that on the tablecloth next year. I love that you take my mind to the positive. This may be a little skewed, so bear with me. I was just completing a Christmas food story for the newspaper I write for - I included a cheese tray as a buffet item. It brought me back to a trip I took with Joe in his big rig - we had stopped at a Ramada, and lunged into the free cheese and chicken wings they had on their happy hour buffet! It was fun, and when thinking about it I cried with both sorrow and the rememberance of the good time we had. I also remember taking my Mom to the seniors' center to pick up her lunch. This was the week my father had died, and this was three weeks after she came home from her 2nd brain tumor operation. She saw a male friend, in a wheelchair, and I remember her grasping his hand, up high like a prizefighter - and they looked at each other with this look, no words spoken, and they were both survivors.

What I'm saying is I'm thankful for my husband, and my parents, who dealt with life - and death - so strongly. They lived their lives so well. I think about them, I hope I learn from them, I hope I can honor them by doing the same. I'm thankful, too, for the friends here, for sharing your innermost feelings. Because those feelings are mine, too. Thank you, Kath! Marsha

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That is a beautiful tradition, and I am thankful for the sensitivity of your family not to bring it out the day after you lost your husband. The Bible is full of admonition to "think on positive things", "Be thankful", "be strong", etc...why, do you suppose? Is it maybe because those things don't just come naturally to us, that they take a determined effort, and they are very much needed? Turmoil is pretty much the word that sums up the circumstances of my life right now...yet it is NOT the summation of me, my life, or my existence. It is merely something I have to get through. My soon to be ex has thrown my life into a mess, yet even so, I have much to be thankful for. Yesterday my wonderful kids decided to help me begin the process of cleaning out the trailer he dumped here right in front of my house...it is the trailer he lived in with his girlfriend, and the floor and walls rotted out so he began removing them, the cabinets, shower, toilet, stove, etc. There is a chaotic mess in there and all of his stuff is inside in disarray. I'd love to push the whole thing over a cliff, but responsible people don't do that. Every day it serves as a huge visible reminder as I walk by it to get to my car...a reminder of seeing all of her stuff there that day on June 3rd when I discovered it. So my kids decided I need to get it dealt with and they told me since it's so hard for me to go inside of there, they would bring stuff out of it, and I began sorting and washing and pitching garbage, etc. They had to leave while we were in the middle of all of this because my daughter had to be at work, but we got a huge start on it and we'll resume it some time in the future. It made me feel good that we got that much done instead of just feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed by it. And I am so thankful for understanding caring kids that take time out of their busy lives to help their mom who has made some bad decisions and landed herself in a bad way. A lot of kids would just stay away. My kids were here with me by my side while I was filing a missing persons report and talking with the police. My kids were here bringing food on Thanksgiving, helping cut firewood and stack it, and just making my life seem worthwhile on a holiday when I've just been deserted by my husband. How can I begin to put into words how thankful I am for these kids?

The night before last my son came home...he had nearly been killed after a rock climbing incident. A one ton boulder had come loose and he fell...he managed to clasp onto some stickery bushes and held on for dear life while the boulder went down...when it thudded at the bottom, his friend, who was peering down and couldn't see him, called out, terribly afraid of the answer, "Are you all right?" and he was able to answer "yes". After he was rescued and assessed his injuries, I'm sure it hit him...it certainly hit me as he came home and told us about it. I do NOT want to lose my son, I CAN'T...enough losses! Enough pain! Enough rebuilding and trying to get through things! I am extremely grateful that my son is alive and I have not lost him. My son that means more to me than life!

Last night I finally got a return call from my "soon to be ex" and he was a total jerk. I was trying to get him to realize we have some loose ends that need to be tied up, titles need signed, loans need paid, stuff needs exchanged, etc, and I need to get an attorney to help guide us through the process...throughout this short exchange he grunted and said "whatever" and stupid little remarks like that and when he heard the word attorney, he just hung up. I was with a friend and it dampened the mood the rest of the evening, the emotion that came with just hearing his voice again, and his stupid attitude that came with it...but when all was said and done, I can't help but feel I will be thankful to have all of this behind me and move on into a more positive life with positive people in it. It's amazing the things we can be thankful for.

And then there's George...how is it that even 3 1/2 years after his death, the sound of his name brings me a smile and warms my heart?! Because he was a positive relationship in my life, he was the sunshine to my soul, he loved and cherished me, just as I did him and he has left me with tons of wonderful memories. I wish I could express to him one more time how much he meant to me, each and everything he did...my kids and I were reminiscing again over Thanksgiving the things he did. The times he rescued them from something or someone, how people would take notice when he talked to them. He once said "You have to talk to people in a language they understand" and he had the ability to do that. One of the things he was best at was communication...and people. For the rest of my life my kids and I will feel loved because of him. I am thankful I got him in my life, even just for the six and a half years that I knew him, and the three years and eight months we were married. I can't imagine my life without him having been in it.

And then there's the pets in my life, these precious animals with their own personalities and quirks, how many smiles they bring! There are hard times with them, like my having to have Lucky put to sleep last week, but they bring so much to our lives, giving us the purpose of having to walk them, feed them, spend time with them...and in return giving us love and attention as they follow us around the house, caring about us even when we look or feel our worst, and always having a forgiving nature.

And there is my job...my boss may be behind paying us, it may be struggling, the market is really tough right now, but it is a job, it pays my medical insurance, and I am thankful to have it, when so many people have none.

And there is this site...I would not have made it through these last few years without this site, without each of you. I have never seen a site more special, with people more special, caring, understanding, encouraging. You are a family to me. There is something about being able to come on line when you can't sleep and knowing there is one more person out there that is awake and listening...one person out there that will respond, reach out, understand. It helps us get through the sleepless nights, the "stuff" of life. We've all had our ups and downs...days when we did well, days when we weren't sure we could make it, and we've been there for each other in all of them. This site was surely of God's design and creation, and I believe that each person that has joined has been destined as a part of this family. How special is that!

I know this is long, I needed to get all of this out...if I write something too long, just ignor it or skim it, but it helps ME to write it out.

I love you all,


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I just read a magazine article that suggested the road to joy begins with gratitude. You are helping us in so many ways, especially now, when it is so easy to look in the opposite direction.

I am grateful for my neighbors, my church family and my children. They have blessed me with so much more than I could have imagined this past year.


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What I am thankful for...right now this is a particularly difficult topic for me as I grapple to deal with my husband's conning and abandoning me and leaving me in a huge financial and legal mess. His lack of moral fiber has hit me on every imaginable level. I am not feeling like dealing with Christmas, and have my hands full with all of the "stuff" I have to deal with right now. In spite of the fact that I may lose everything, my home, my credit, you name it, I do have something to be thankful for. I am alive, I have absolutely wonderful kids, two cats to keep me company, and a wonderful granddog, Skye, that is is the love of my life right now. tongue.gif I have a church family that I look forward to reacquainting myself with. I look forward to seeing what God is going to do in my life. I have learned some immeasurable lessons that I can take with me in life as I begin to rebuild it. I am very thankful for everyone on this site, you have all been like a family to me and I feel so privileged to have gotten to know each of you. I love you all and hope that this Thanksgiving, while it was missing someone you love, was also filled with reminders of things you have to be thankful for.

Love, KayC

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