My 2023 has been filled with blessings, so many blessings. Also, a few unexpected challenges.
I will share with you a few of the blessings that have been bestowed on me this year, but before that I want to share with you something that isn’t talked about enough this time of year: loss, disappointment, and sadness.
The holidays are a hard time for some of you. Having to put on a smile and bake a pumpkin pie to take to Aunt Sally’s house is about the last thing you want to do because you really aren’t feeling that thankful this year.
I get it. That was my 2020.
2020 was a shit year for the entire world, and it was particularly unforgiving for my family. My father died unexpectedly in August (which in some ways was a blessing). He was my person, and losing him has left exactly the sized hole I knew it would.
Then, on Halloween of that year I received a call from my sister-in-law telling me that she was at the emergency room, and my brother had collapsed in his best friend's driveway. He had suffered multiple seizures on the driveway and in the ambulance on his way to the hospital.
As I arrived at the hospital, after the four hour drive, I found my brother in the ER intubated and in restraints due to him trying to pull the breathing tube out. Three hours later he was moved to the ICU and put in a medically induced coma for five days. It took that long for the doctors to figure out what had caused the seizures and what to do next.
On day six, we were told that he had a small tumor in his brain that the surgeon was very certain was benign. On day seven, he was headed home with anti-seizure meds, orders of no driving for six months, and an appointment with the surgeon the following week to schedule brain surgery to remove the benign tumor.
Surgery happened before Thanksgiving that year. I wasn’t allowed to be at the hospital during the surgery due to Covid restrictions. That also meant my sister-in-law would be sitting in the OR waiting room by herself. The doctor said the surgery was successful. Although he was sure the tumor was benign, per standard procedure, it would be sent off to pathology for review, but there was no need to worry.
Thanksgiving was a time of gratitude and celebration that year! Then right before Christmas I got a call from my brother. He’d gone in to have the staples in his head removed and learned that the tumor wasn’t benign, it was a grade 4 tumor. Glioblastoma. There was no New Year’s Celebration. 2020 had been a brutal year.
I’m not sharing this story to elicit sympathy or pity. I just want you to know that it’s ok to not be ok or grateful or feel like celebrating. If you’re struggling to come up with something to be thankful for as the turkey is cut and the gravy is passed, it’s ok. It’s been 364 days since Thanksgiving 2022. That’s a long time, and your year may have had setbacks, disappointment, loss, struggle, and sadness.
If this Thanksgiving isn’t a time for celebration and gratitude for you, I hope that you can find a quiet place that day where you can be alone for a bit and sit with your feelings. Allow yourself the grace to experience Thanksgiving in a way that most honors what you’ve been through this year.
As promised, here are the things for which I’m most thankful this year:
- I finished the book that I’ve been working on for 2 years.
- Morgan James publishing offered me a publishing deal and “Selling Your Way IN” will be published in August of 2024 (I’m sure it will make the 2024 grateful list).
- My son got his first real job out of college, moved into his own place, and is adulting very nicely!
- I met so many great people and made so many amazing connections this year as a result of the work I do.
- I had the opportunity to travel to over 10 different cities for both work and play.
- No one died on my birthday or birthday week thanks to an amazing team of doctors
- AND my brother is still with us despite a new tumor showing up earlier this year, and we are so grateful for his team of doctors at MDA, KU Med, and Duke!
I tell people that I know and people I don’t that I lead a blessed life. Sure, I have disappointments, setbacks, and losses that I deal with and yet….I’m amazed by the people who enter my life, professional opportunities that come to fruition, and my circle of friends, colleagues, and clients that I’m blessed to spend time with each and every day! I love what I do, and I love my life. Thank you for being a part of it.