Today I’m thankful for an open mind. Too many times I see people who close their thoughts to possibilities. They stereotype. They allow hate to drive them forward. I’m glad that I fight against that with my willingness to look at the perspective of someone else. The fact is that you don’t know what someone is going through; what battle they are fighting. Maybe a simple smile can make all the difference. If we strip away the skin and what makes us male and female, what do you have? We are all the same underneath all of that. We all bleed red. Our hearts beat. We breathe air. So, why should we perpetuate racism and bigotry? We shouldn’t. I work ever single day to teach students the importance of an open mind and true, unconditional acceptance. I strive for it myself. I hope I never lose sight of the importance of love and compassion.
Today I want to say that I’m thankful for my mom. She taught me how to be strong through hard lessons. She taught me what an education meant, and how important it would be to obtain one. She taught me that the odds are typically not in our favor, but it’s up to each individual to go beyond those odds; to pull myself up by the bootstraps and go on.
She is the only link I have left to my aunts, my uncle, and my grandparents. I knew that one day we would travel this road without them, but it’s certainly been harder than either of us ever imagined. This is our first holiday without my Aunt Evelyn. Although I grief differently than most, I still feel the pain of her loss. When my mother talks to me about the loss she feels, I can see that she is trying to make sense of the world without my aunt. It’s not an easy task by any means. However, we must move forward, and as she has told me time and time again, “Pull yourself up by the bootstraps!”
I am a few days late, but better late than never. So, here goes:
I am thankful for my son. He means EVERYTHING to me. He has been through so much this summer. He has dealt with judgment from sources who have no right to judge. He will never get that from me. That’s the beauty of unconditional love.
Carl Rogers encouraged us to embrace our children, faults and all (Hergenhahn & Henley, 2014). It is heartbreaking that not all parents understand this let alone employ it. At a young age my child has been required to process one of the greatest rejections he may ever face. However, he is becoming stronger for it. He is excelling in school, and he is growing spiritually and personally.
Secondly is my husband. I feel like I haven’t seen him much since I started the Ph.d. program in April, and even more so since I started back to work in August. He too has been through a lot recently. He is one of the strongest people I know. I only wish I could be that strong. He is an awesome dad, too. I love him more than he will ever understand or know.
Death is a part of life, and grief is a natural process that all humans must go through with the loss of a loved one (Stassen, 2016). What is excruciating is watching someone navigate through that loss, feeling helpless and impotent. That’s what I’ve been doing since July. The loss of my father-in-law has changed everything for our lives. As a result, my husband is much less carefree and has transformed to his very core. Coming up on the first major holiday without his father will be especially difficult. Still, I have no doubt his strength will win out.
I am thankful for my dad. He taught me how to laugh. He taught me how to play the drums. He taught me how to sing. He introduced me to The Blues Brothers and Saturday Night Live in the 70’s. We share a love of the same music. He’s taught me more skills than I can possibly list. He is an awesome grandfather, too! My dad and I have an extremely similar thought process. My mom often tells me that we react the same way to various situations and say the same things when presented with challenges. We both share the commonality of road rage (LOL), but we also share a lot of endearing qualities. He is truly one wild and crazy guy!
More to come 🙂
Hergenhahn, B. R., & Henley, T. B. (2014). An introduction to the history of psychology (7th
ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Stassen Berger, Kathleen, (2016). Invitation to the Life Span (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Worth.
Today I offer up thanks for my Aunt Evelyn. My childhood wouldn’t have been the same without her. She will be celebrating her 91st birthday in December.
She nor my aunt Kat ever married. They never had children. I was their child. My mother was their child. They devoted their lives to their jobs and to the church.
Evelyn has really struggled without Kat. They were inseparable and they lived together until Kat went into the nursing home. I’m sure it is much like losing a spouse. There is a void that cannot be filled by anything or anyone.
I am thankful that Evelyn is still with us and I see her at least once a week. I think it’s important that we take time to visit our elders. They are filled with knowledge and history. They are bound by a higher purpose to share that knowledge and that legacy with the next generation. So, by spending time with her, I help her fulfill that higher purpose.
I am thankful for my Aunt Kat. She passed on, but I certainly haven’t forgotten her. I look forward to her visits while I’m dreaming and think about her all of the time. There are times when I catch her perfume on some of my clothing and it’s like she never left. I think about her every single day. Thanksgivings haven’t been the same without her.
Death is a part of life, but sometimes it is difficult for us to navigate through that sea of grief. Years can pass and at certain times, especially around the holidays, depression can creep up on us before we even realize it. None of the holidays have been the same without her.
I used to feel like that about my grandma, but I was a child when she left us. After that, my aunts and my grandpa kept our holidays together. Now, things are so different. And that makes me sad.
It’s hard to be thankful for bereavement, but it helps us realize we’re human. It also gives us something to look forward to. If you’re in the camp of the spiritualists, it tells you there is more beyond this world; a place where we can reunite with our loved ones. If you happen to be me, you don’t even have to wait. Those of us that are clairvoyant are visited constantly by not only our relatives, but many others who want to send messages or just feel that “human connection.”
If you’re not in the camp with us eclectic folks, I’m not sure how to explain death to you. When I was an atheist, I saw death as a permanent end. Not only was that a pretty dim point of view, but it had a tremendous impact on my mental health.
Either way you look at it, the loss of a loved one is painful and that is reiterated for us each day we go on without them. However, if we can look back on the good times with them, especially during the holidays, we may find comfort in their legacy. This woman left a legacy like no one else. She was a public servant and gave herself more than she had to. I miss her…
I raise my hands in praise for my ancestors. They are my bloodline. I am their legacy. I humbly honor them with glad tidings and offerings!
Whether you realize it or not, you are surrounded by those who’ve passed. They have a hand in your life. They offer knowledge if you can still your mind and listen. People become desensitized to their whispers. Many believe that hearing them is indicative of demonic activity. I’m here to tell you that’s false.
Embrace those who’ve gone on before you. They are wise and they want to help you through this life’s journey.
Today I give thanks to my dog, Chance. He was supposed to have left us in the early winter of 2015, yet the Goddess has seen fit to allow us to keep him a bit longer.
Mr. Bookie has cancer, but he is full of divine life. He is fun and he has saved my life on more than one occasion. He has saved my son’s life, too. I have no doubt that he would die for his little pack. We love him so much!
Chance is a shelter dog. I got him in late December 2006. It was a snap decision, but it was certainly a blessed decision.
I came home from work and grabbed my son and my husband. We headed to the shelter. My idea was to find a dog who took to my son more than me. If the dog gravitated to my son, I knew it would be “the one.”
We went into the puppy room and I just let my son stand there. There were many puppies in the room. Most sniffed him and went about their business. One sought him out. One took an interest in him. One recognized my son’s soul and wouldn’t leave him. He was gentle and sweet and playful.
Chance (Mr. Bookie) because a part of our family that day. He has adapted to every single move and every single change. He has let me cry to him. He has let me laugh at him. He has saved me with his loyalty and his protection.
Diagnosed with carcinoma in the year from hell (2014), he was given a death sentence. He would be dead by January 2015. In late August, he collapsed and we rushed him to the vet. He had a tumor in his belly that was 15 lbs. I just thought he was fat. I was wrong.
It’s November 2016. He has certainly extended his contract. The tumor has grown back, but you wouldn’t know he’s dying. Luckily, the cancer is encased in fatty tissue. It doesn’t appear to be attached to any major organs.
So, I want to offer up sincere thanks to the Goddess Diana, the Goddess of the hunt; the Goddess of children and animals. Thank you so much for allowing us to keep him just a bit longer!