Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

"If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is 'thank you', it will be enough." Meister Eckhart

When it comes to giving thanks, I wasn't so much in the mood this year. Our family's had a rough one. Life-threatening health issues. Car accidents. A divorce. The death of a beloved aunt. A close brush with disaster.

My husband had a benign (thank god) tumor removed from his eye. My mother broke a bone in her hip. I've had two surgical procedures on my back. One was last Friday, which is why I've been absent for a while.

I lost two friends and former bosses this year, Dick Doran and Mal Johnson.

And I could go on. But I'm not alone and I'm tired of whining. Many people have endured the same, if not more.

So this week I decided I'm counting my blessings. The old fashioned way. By keeping score.

Even though we saw a marriage break up, we also danced at a wedding.

Plus, my husband and I celebrated 25 years of marriage, no small feat.

My wonderful, unique nephew Kenny walked away from the car wreck shown in the photo above virtually without a scratch.

Another nephew and his wife, who's daily commute took them over the 35W bridge in Minneapolis, weren't on it when it collapsed.

The Phillies won the Division title and I met Ryan Howard.

Sad though it was, I spent some time at Dick Doran's funeral sharing stories with a home grown Archbishop who has just become a Cardinal.

My sister Judy survived her first year of widowhood with such courage and grace. I have more words of wisdom on coping from her to share next week.

Then there's my nephew Alex. My sister's grandson. He's 11 now, still fighting the rare cancer VHL with can-do spirit. The tumors in his eyes and on his spine are microscopic. He and his parents have to stay vigilant about signs and symptoms, but they're used to that. And anyway, he just snagged one of the lead roles in his school play. You go, guy!

And finally, Karen. Alex's mother, Judy's daughter, my niece. And my hero. She fought eye cancer and won. Karen had eye melanoma, which can travel through the body, most often to the liver. If it does that... well, let's not go there.

Tuesday she went for the first laser treatment after her radiation surgery. The laser's job is to remove any vestiges of the tumor and fry any blood vessels that have grown back so they don't become a conduit for traveling cancer cells.

The news was stupendously good ... laser not necessary, no new blood vessels and the tumor was not only gone, but, to quote the doctor, "dust." Her vision's a little blurry but her future--thank you, Dr. Shields, thank you, God--is very, very bright.
So as we gather for Thanksgiving dinner, I think we'll give thanks for what we've got. And celebrate life.

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