Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Are You Thankful?

This may be a little early for Thanksgiving, but I felt inspired.  Is it ever the wrong time to be thankful?

A lot of the stores are already decked for Christmas.  When I was a kid, Christmas decorations, TV specials, commercials, and music didn’t start until Santa arrived on the last float of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Now-a-days, Christmas is in the stores, on TV, and on the radio as early as Halloween.  We rush life.  Someone already delivered a mini Christmas tree to a friend’s porch anonymously.  All right, that’s adorable and sweet and such a cute idea, but it’s not yet Thanksgiving!  As a society, we are so into instant gratification and getting to the next thing.  We do not take the time to enjoy each season, experience, and milestone.

Being in the hospital these last 108 days, 114 days since Derek was first injured, has given me time to sit back and reflect.

In this season of Thanksgiving, I look on facebook, and so many people, including myself, are posting a daily “thankful for” post.  Some days I sit there and have to think about what to post.  Other days, it comes easily.  I am probably repeating myself, because I do not review my list before I post, and just like this blog, it is unedited and comes from my heart.

Most of what I am thankful for surrounds the simple pleasure of being alive and my family.

I am thankful for my sister and her husband, Brian, who have taken on so much at home.

I am thankful for my children, Michael, Kellina, Ryan, and Sean, who are working hard at home, making me proud.

I am thankful for Krystina, because she loves Derek and is so very good for him.

I am thankful for my ex, because without him, I wouldn’t have my children.

I look around the hospital and see our young warriors every day simply celebrating being alive.  These warriors have faced death and come out victorious.  They have faced immeasurable challenges to learn to feed themselves, dress themselves, get out of bed unattended, shower, use the bathroom unattended and walk.  These basic things that we do every day are milestones for them, and they celebrate each one.

I watch them smile as they whip the wheelchair down the hall and send nurses scurrying out of their way.

I saw Derek’s happy little dance today when his nurse walked in and announced, “Are you ready for this?” and whisked the “Contact Precautions” sign off the door.  This means he is no longer considered “infected” by resistant strains of big, bad bugs and visitors do not have to wear those wonderfully fashionable yellow gowns. 

I am thankful that all of these kids have a second chance at life, and I am even more thankful that most of them have such a great attitude about it.

I am thankful that Derek is still alive to experience and enjoy all that life has to offer.  We almost lost him.  I am so thankful that we didn’t.

I am thankful to all of the doctors and nurses who work so hard, everyday.  I know I drive the doctors crazy, and some of them have told me so, even if not in so many words (thank you, Dr. Diego.  Love you, too).  And even though the nurses don’t admit it and always smile, I am sure some of them walk away shaking their heads.  It doesn’t stop them from being amazingly attentive, friendly, upbeat.

I am thankful for all of the wonderful people I have met on the journey.  This is not easy, and having an amazing community surrounding us along the way with a smile or a kind word helps ease it along.  These are people I would have never met otherwise.  I would have been okay with that; however, I am here for a reason, and these people have been put in my path for a purpose.  I will make the best out of it.

I am thankful for the communities of North Caldwell and Parsippany, NJ, the NJ Elks, All Saints Academy, Notre Dame Church, the North Caldwell Police Department, and Gould School, who are the ones who have either been brought to my attention, or who I can remember off the top of my head.

I am thankful for my friends, who have been so supportive, and to all of the new friends whom I have met.

I am thankful for Meggan and Dana who recently dropped off some delicious home cooked meals.  Getting out to go shopping and actually taking time to cook is not something Krystina and I spend a lot of time doing.  Oh, who am I kidding?  It’s not something we spend any time doing.

I am thankful for the many wonderful people who sent care packages, cards and letters today and in the past.  Two representatives from the Liaisons’ Office came in with armfuls of boxes and letters.  Thank you, everyone.

We could sit here and look around at the lost dreams, broken bodies, heartbroken families, feuding in-laws, etc.  If I did, I would fall apart.  So, even when we have setbacks, and even when things get overwhelming, we find something to make us laugh.  We find something to cling to that makes us grateful to be here now.

For what are you thankful? 

Are you going to sit back and wallow in your problems until they drown you, or are you going to do as these young warriors and seize what God has offered and live for however long you have left?  Are you going to make the most of your life?  It’s the only one you have.  Or are you going to waste the gifts you have, the most precious of which is time?

God bless you this Thanksgiving season and always.

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