Originally published December 6, 2016
This is a season of gratitude. Thanksgiving offers the country a time to be grateful and spend some time with family and friends. Christmas is about sharing and love. Hanukkah is about seeing through the darkness and finding light, recognizing miracles. Kwanzaa offers a time to work together, find community, unity and purpose. The end of the calendar or a new year in almost every culture and religion signifies a time to reflect, to recognize, to be grateful. A time when we remember everything we have and recognize everyone special in our lives.
This year there are a lot of people who have done extraordinary things for me and my family. And we have so much to be grateful for. Our loss has left a gaping hole in our lives. A hole that I see everywhere all the time. I think of the things she would like, would do, how she would react. But that big black hole has another often unnoticed result. It illuminates everything around it and all of the wonderful things and abilities we have. Surrounding the darkness, we can see the light, and it is so important to see the light.
We ran a turkey trot race on Thanksgiving. As we started my legs were tight, I didn’t feel like running, it was cold, I hadn’t done the proper training and I have gained 15 pounds since my daughter's death, trying to eat away my sorrow. As I was running and feeling miserable, I realized, I CAN RUN. I am so fortunate. My sweet Eliza, and so many people around the world, cannot run or walk. I can run.
I can hear the singing of my two children in the double stroller, they are almost too big to fit, but they do it for a race every once in awhile because they can’t run six miles yet either. I realized, I CAN HEAR. I have two amazing kids that are having fun on this cold morning with me, outside, under a blanket, running with us. THEY CAN TALK. They can easily share emotions, thoughts, needs and wants.
A few miles later I am still not feeling great and I am mentally pushing myself through the race and I remember all the therapy sessions where I asked Eliza for just one more try. She was tired, ready to quit, but she gave just one more try. I thought of how hard she worked to do basic things and reminded myself, I CAN RUN. I reminded myself to try my best, not to stop, to finish the race. Then I could go home and eat leftovers, with my own two hands. I CAN FEED MYSELF. I have the use of my hands and arms and the ability to feed myself. It is a miracle and it is amazing.
I am grateful for all of the support. I am grateful for all of my abilities. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for my friends. I am truly grateful for the six years that Eliza was in my life, illuminating the possibilities and making sure I never took for granted the abilities and opportunities in my life.
I miss you Eliza.
Thank you for sharing your time with us.
I am grateful.