Things I’m Thankful for that I Once Took for Granted

November 22, 2011

In my younger days I obsessed on things I did not have, focusing both eyes on what was missing in my life. I believed I could achieve success by setting goals and then working hard to fill the voids, to reduce my deficits and ultimately to obtain more possessions.

Now I’m wiser and realize I have always been surrounded by vast abundance. Though it sounds like a cliché—especially at Thanksgiving time—I have so much to be thankful for, including the following items that are so obvious I have tended to take them for granted:

  1. My mom. Okay, I never took mom for granted, yet I assumed she would always be there. Just two years ago, mom sat at our Thanksgiving dinner table. She shared stories, told jokes and inquired about each of our lives. She was a great mother and I always knew that. Only since her unexpected passing, though, have I become fully aware of how thankful I am for the profound influence she had upon me and my family.
  2. My eyesight. I never thought much about my vision until a melanomic tumor on my retina claimed the use of my left eye. I share that information not out of self-pity—I don’t feel sorry for myself and neither should you. Quite frankly, I don’t spend much time thinking about what I’ve lost. Instead, I focus on what I still have—vision in one eye that allows me to drive, to take photographs and to enjoy the beautiful world surrounding me. For that, I am truly grateful. Read the rest of this entry »

A Tribute to Mom on Her Birthday

March 5, 2010

Mom looked healthy in this photo taken less than a week before she unexpectedly died. (Photo taken by my brother Gary)


Today would have been Mom’s 81st birthday. Sadly, last week our family gathered to bury Mom who died suddenly from cardiac failure. At her funeral, I fought back tears to read a tribute I’d written in her honor. With only slight editing, here’s what I shared with family and friends who had gathered to honor the special lady we all loved.


Thank you for being here. Your presence means a lot to the family, especially to Dad, Gary and me.

Earlier this week we received ongoing updates on who was planning to be here. We learned that Mom’s brothers, nephews, nieces and grandchildren would be traveling from California, Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado.

As the list grew longer, I kept thinking, “This is great! Mom will be so happy to see everyone.”

Then I’d get choked up as my new reality quickly set in. This time we were not planning another family reunion. Nor a 50th anniversary celebration. Nor the wedding of one of Mom’s grandchildren.

Sadly, this is not one of those happy events. We have come here to mourn. We have suffered a big loss, and we are here to grieve.

But we have also gathered to celebrate the joy and the love and the happiness that Mom brought into each of our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

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