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My mom and daughters in August at the St. Louis Zoo.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! When it comes to gratitude, the simple things are often the sweetest. These are some of the things I’m especially thankful for this year:

Thankful For…

1.    Family. I live several hours from my family and miss them more every year. It became harder when my mom was recently diagnosed with cancer. We eventually learned she has a treatable form of cancer, but it caused us all a lot of worry during those first few uncertain weeks.

Also, my grandfather passed away last summer, so I have a renewed appreciation for the time I have with my remaining grandparents, and I look for opportunities to gather bits of family history to preserve for future generations.

2.    Health. When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, you no longer take good health for granted. My daughters also had some minor issues this month that I’m thankful were not worse, including a gash on my younger daughter’s chin that nearly required stitches, and a bacterial eye infection in my older daughter that prompted a call from the school nurse and a prescription for eye drops from the pediatrician.

On a health-related note, I’m grateful for good sleep at night. Last year, I suffered from insomnia for the first time. It started when my body had trouble adjusting to the “fall back” time change one year ago, an event which I now loathe. It was severe through most of the month of November last year and persisted on and off through December and January. I tried a mild sleep aid from my doctor that didn’t help much and finally read a book that gave good coping tips and helped me get back on track. Insomnia is a lonely, frustrating experience, and sleep is something most people take for granted until they don’t have it. Sleepless nights are rare for me anymore, and I am grateful beyond measure.

3.    Things in life to look forward to. This time of year is one of my favorites because of all the holidays that come in quick succession: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. There’s always something enjoyable to anticipate, and this knowledge helped me get through my miserable days and nights of insomnia last November. I love turkey and ham dinners, decorating the house for Christmas, listening to Christmas music, watching my daughters open gifts on Christmas morning, going on road trips to relatives’ houses, and celebrating the birth of Jesus. I don’t care much for winter once the holidays are over. I’d be happy to skip the gloomy, cold months and go straight to spring, but at least we have the promise that spring, sunshine, and new leaves and flowers will one day arrive. I take heart knowing that, from the holidays to time with family to the welcome changing seasons, there are always things in life to look forward to.

What are you thankful for this year?

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Category: Family Free Time

Tags: cancer