Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Being Thankful

So far this year has been tough on many people.  Depending on one's perspective, many have been devastated due to job loss, environmental catastrophes or the loss of their health or loved one.  I was with hardship crowd this year having lost two close relatives and my health was once again sidetracked.

Thursday November 24th, will mark the 40th anniversary of the Thanksgiving snowstorm of 1971 that dumped close to two feet of snow in the northeast part of Pennsylvania.  I was five years old at the time and we spent Thanksgiving Eve at my paternal grandparents house.  My uncle's family from Texas was there along with my aunts family from Michigan plus all 6 young cousins.  The only thing I really remember is the trip home.  The 1966 Chevy Impala would not climb the hills of the Springfield section of Shamokin.  My sisters and I were the beneficiaries of a night sleigh ride home courtesy on my uncles Larry and Ray on the mount.  Legend is they had a great ride back down the hill.

Looking back it may have been the last time the paternal side would be together again until the funerals of my grandfather in 1973 and grandmother in 1977.    The family kept in contact but visits were rare.

Thanksgiving ten years ago in 2001, would be the last holiday spent with my father. He passed away suddenly on December 12th, 2001.  Less than a year later, I would be diagnosed with cancer at age 35.  One of the things that I am thankful for was the cancer bringing my family somewhat back together.  My cousin Lynn and Ray's daughter Lynn and I became very close after she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008.  We became each other's support for three years.

Lynn passed away on June 19th of this year at the age of 52 and her father passed away suddenly just a week ago November 15th.  For my cousin that survives, he loses a sister and father within 5 months.  My own health took a turn in October when surgery an infection caused a four day hospital stay and month long rehab.

What does it all mean?

I am thankful I had all these people in my life.  Even though they are now gone, memories are forever.  I had the opportunity to visit Lynn a week before she passed to tell that I love her.  I also got to spend quality time with my Uncle Ray and even got to do some shopping. 

With my own health issues, I got to how much people cared through visits and phone calls.  Four days in a hospital seemed like an eternity. 

Be thankful for the memories and little things in life.  Be thankful for the friends and family around you, the sunrises and the sunsets, the butterflies and breeze. Be thankful for the people around you.  These things are taken for granted everyday, but can be gone oh so quickly in the world we live.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

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