#158 A time for Thanksgiving and Reflection

As I sit and write this on the eve of Thanksgiving, I am reminded of so many blessing I’ve received this year. It’s my traditional time to start reflecting on the year nearly past and give thanks for all the blessings I have been given. It has been a rough year in some respects and a great year in others.

This year I lost my dad. While we were never particularly close, in the past couple of years we had started to draw closer and were learning to set some of our differences aside. In some ways his accidental death, while tragic, brought both hidden blessings and challenges. I was probably the last of our immediate family to recognize his onset of dementia. It was heartbreaking to see his loss of memory and mobility setting in last Christmas.

My father was a very stubborn man. Things always had to be done his way and in his time. My sister, step-mother and I had recommended that he start to get help around the house because he was no longer able to keep up with all the cleaning and maintenance required for a two-story home. You see, he lived, and died, in his childhood home, a place he truly loved. As a family we were blessed by the fact that we are not going to face the struggles that so many families face when having to move a parent to an assisted living facility.

His passing allowed me to meet many of the people he knew through out his life. They shared many stories of times past and how he had impacted their lives. I was blessed to discover a side of my father that I had never known.

I was blessed to be able to take this past summer off and spend time restoring his sailboat. In the past few years he was no longer able to sail the boat by himself and at the end was only able to spend time looking at it and tinkering with something on it every now and then. The restoration project was also very therapeutic and healing for me. I drew even closer to my father through doing the boat projects that he normally did. I gained a deeper appreciation for his mechanical ability and his amazing navigation skills.

There have been many more blessings; people that have come into my life, people that I have been able to help both personally and professionally, spending more time with family and friends, taking my daughter and grand children sailing for the first time, and watching a total solar eclipse this summer. These are just a few of the many, many blessings I have received this year.

As I wrap this up, I am reminded of my dad’s love of baking. He was a baker by trade and at this time of year I’m always blessed with memories of decorating Halloween, Thanksgiving, and especially Christmas cookies. Dad, thank you for blessing me with so many great memories.

As you reflect on this quickly passing year, make sure you take time to recognize the blessings in your life. They may be as simple as having a roof over your head, food to eat, and clothes to wear. Be grateful for all the experiences you have had this year…even that bad ones, for they will have helped make you a stronger person. For those of you in the midst of your struggle, know that it will get better. Be thankful for family and friends regardless of how much they may irritate you at times. Time passes quickly and in the blink of an eye they can be taken from you.