I know this is going to be a very tearful time in my life of loss this year. Thanksgiving is upon us… Christmas is within weeks afterwards, and Steve’s birthday falls in between, on 12/2. 

So, in keeping with tradition we always say “Happy Thanksgiving,” “Happy birthday,” “Congrats,” “Happy Holidays.” Since the holiday season will be different to me this year, I decided to go outside the box. Why? Because I’ve never been in this box before. 

I Googled the definition of “thankful.” We are all thankful for one thing or another. It was defined as: “Pleased and relieved; expressing gratitude and relief.”

Thankful: in the past.

Then I looked up “grateful.” Grateful was defined as: “Feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; welcomed, as in enjoyment.”

Grateful: a continuum. 

I am choosing to be grateful this year.

As I go through my days, I’m grateful that the financial path we chose will help me with future bills and expenses. I’m not bragging but just being real… so grateful there is no mortgage. I would lose the roof over my head otherwise. 

I am grateful that last year when I assumed “man” chores to keep the house in shape, Steve was setting me up to not be totally dependent on others, so I can keep on with the maintenance and smile, because I know I can do this. I’m trying so hard to be independent that I’ve compromised a small stack of index cards for the change of season maintenance of the weed whacker, leaf blower, push mower, lawn tractor, generator, and snow blower. Because these are all my responsibility now. Which is 2 cycle (tip: the lid will show you a plus sign or a raindrop symbol if it 2 cycle). Then you know it’s a gas & oil mix. Which things need a stabilizer in the gas tank. Who knew? Not me! Steve always took care of this.

Snow blower: electric start but gas operated, plug in turn the choke, do this do that… bam! I’m good. But right now, it’s too much info for me to retain, so I need to write down the process on my handy index cards. But in a few seasons, I’ll retain all the info and I’m grateful I will. 

I’m grateful for my family members — son, daughter, sister, sister-in-law — who will continue to not only take my text messages, but I’ve now made them commit to talking to me one  night every week to listen to me and  just talk to a real person. And they all said yes and are okay with it. I know they’ll regret it cause my mouth just flaps… but hey… then don’t pick up the phone when I call! It’ll be in the evening when I’m the most lonely and they can come up with an excuse. But they will pick up, I know that.

I’m grateful that I can remember our last holiday together, not knowing it would be Steve’s last. But I will try to channel how great it was here, at our house, while he was doing well. And I’ll keep those moments that we last celebrated going forward.

I’m grateful for the people that Steve knew, that I maybe never have met, who are willing to help me with maintenance that would normally cost an arm and a leg, into next year. Maybe they just liked him, maybe he was a great coworker, I don’t know. But I’m grateful they’re here for me in the future. 

I could go on about what I am grateful for… that being a continuum of life, because I am still alive but in a different way. I will continue to live life in a new way, continue to be with Steve but in a different way, continue to go forward as best I can or know how. But I will continue, and  be as grateful as  I can. Continue. 

Happy Gratsgiving! Be grateful! 

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