A Mother and her Two Daughters

25 November 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 – with many thanks . . .

During Thanksgivings past, I’ve always taken time to give thanks for my many blessings – the blessings of family, friends, my community and for living in this wonderful country we call America. 

But this year, as I sit here reflecting on another Thanksgiving day, an inventory of life seems embedded in my mind.  This year I am much more keenly aware of my many blessings.  I’ve often said that this has been one of my worst years, and one of my best. 

I am so grateful for the love of my two beautiful girls who have given to me so much of their love and themselves, without “the ask.”  Allyson and Anna-Lee have had to endure much this past year but have shown incredible strength and the ability to truly pass along powerful love to their old momma – love that will forever be cherished and always remembered.  As all parents feel, to describe the love we have for our children is almost impossible.  This year it feels like “times ten.”  How truly thankful I am that God graced me with these two extraordinary young women.

Tim is always top of my mind.  What would I have done without him, without his always-steady demeanor, his encouragement and positive outlook, and his support for my occasional break-downs.  Not to mention how many dinners he has prepared, my home he has helped me to manage, the countless doctor appointments he’s been to, and the numerous procedures, chemotherapy treatments and three surgeries where he has always been right there by my side.  What a lucky woman I am to have Tim.  His stoic strength has been my gift. 

Mom and Dad, brother Mike and Aunt Alice – their unwavering optimism and support have made this time much more bearable.  Whether it’s been countless errands and driving me around town, helping me keep the house clean, a dinner outing or dropping me off a delicious take-out meal, taking care of Abbey and the kitties, or taking care of my girls so I could focus on the cancer and treatments – they have been extraordinary, and I couldn’t have done this year without them by my side. 

I give thanks for brilliant doctors – Suzanne Klimberg, Issam Makhoul, James Yuen and so many others on my cancer team at UAMS.  Not only have they given me compassionate care and their very best, they have eradicated cancer from my body and made me feel whole again.  I am also grateful for the many nurses who have cared for me with immeasurable tenderness and sincerity; nurses like Nurse B, Michelle, Carla, and Dot Bonner.  It was Dot who made me truly realize that we are all connected – never forget that.  Everyone at UAMS has treated me as Stacy, not breast cancer patient #999.  For all of my team at UAMS, I will always love you. 

I am grateful for friends who so unselfishly give of their love when I was in abject need of support.  Friends who call, who visit, who send cards and text messages in the middle of the day to offer comfort.  Dinner parties and birthday celebrations, lovely gifts and scarves and hats and wigs (some serious and some not so serious) - I'm grateful for their unwavering optimism in the face of fear and their good cheer and reassurance during physical pain and sometimes heartache.  Among my friends, we have always given much to one another.  This year, they have expected nothing from me in return.  And for this I am very thankful. 

And how could I go through this day without being forever grateful to my team and colleagues at CJRW.  WOW – they have been phenomenal by stepping in to support me, my love for the work, my passion for getting it right.  They share that passion and have made this year so much easier for me at the expense of their own time to be home with their families.  But in addition, they have shared meals, planted flowers, weeded the beds, vacuumed the carpets, drew funny cartoons, played the guitar and sang me beautiful songs.  I don’t think all cancer patients are fortunate enough to have colleague like mine.  Wayne and Shelby, Bucky and Mr. C, Rebecca and Jordan, Denver and Jay, Jennifer and Teresa, Brenda and Darryl and Sam, all of them!  They are the best and will always be remembered. 

And last, I give thanks for hair, albeit a new shade of salt & pepper.  I promise to never complain about my hair – every stitch on my head, and my eyelashes and eyebrows too.  Hair is good, especially when you’re a woman! 

This year the world, my own world, has rendered me speechless and almost incapacitated with humility.  The love of family, friends, doctors and colleagues, and even strangers has been overwhelming.  I truly believe that it is this love that has given me an optimistic spirit, the courage and strength and incredible will to kick cancer’s butt. 

Today I know that I every day will be my own Thanksgiving.  Yes, I will celebrate the holiday with family.  But as I’ve told you before, for many months now I wake up each morning and give thanks for yesterday, today, tomorrow, and all the days ahead. 

What a blessed year!  Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  Now, on to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! 

P.S.  I really felt better writing this reflection of thanks – a new tradition to do each year.  You might think about writing your own list of all that you are thankful for. 

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