An Attitude of Gratitude

Last updated: October 2022

My husband and I took a long bike ride around the neighborhood trail known as the Pennsy trail, named after the old Pennsylvania railroad that used to run through our part of the city. The weather was beautiful, a mild 70 degrees with just a slight breeze, lots of sunshine.

We went early enough that we could still hear the birds singing, watch farm animals lazily move through the open fields, hear the loud buzzing of the cicadas. There were only a few other people on the trail, some riding bikes like us, some exercising their dogs, some just walking and getting in their daily steps.

Why I'm grateful

My husband's chemo treatments are in the past

This was the kind of morning that made me grateful. Grateful that my husband’s chemo treatments and heart problems are a thing of the past (as he says, at least for now). Grateful that we’re both strong enough and well enough to ride our bikes for over ten miles (I know to many that may not be much, but to us, it’s an accomplishment). Grateful that we live in a beautiful community that offers safe, paved trails that wind through farms, groves of trees, residential areas, and offers places to sit in the shade and take a break. So much to be thankful for.

Our son has learned from his dad's prostate cancer

Yesterday, as of my writing this, our son dropped by unannounced and unexpected. He lives about three to four hours away from us, so it was truly a surprise to see him at the front door. A wonderful surprise. And I’m grateful, very grateful and happy for his visit.

But also grateful because, as he told us during his visit, he has started to take his health seriously, especially because of his dad’s prostate cancer diagnosis.

Our son now has an annual test to make sure his PSA level is where it should be. He also has learned that he needs to exercise and eat right to fight cancer even before it shows its ugly head, the goal being to keep it from ever showing up. I’m grateful that he has a wife who supports him in this and also believes in the importance of health, nutrition, exercise, and rest. They work together to remain healthy for themselves, each other, and their family. I am grateful for all of this.

Our daughter is staying optimistic amid breast cancer

Our daughter is in a tough battle against breast cancer. Chemo was hard on her. Her port resulted in a serious blood clot in her jugular. She had infections. She needed additional surgery post-mastectomy because of complications. She lost all her hair, her energy, her ability to work. But she’s finished with chemo and moving now through radiation. I’m grateful chemo is over, and I believe (have to believe) that it did its job in eradicating the cancer cells.

I’m grateful that when I see her now her energy is coming back, she’s starting to laugh again, she’s getting together with friends and feeling more like her old self. Her hair hasn’t come back yet, as of my writing this, but she’s beautiful to me with or without hair. I’m so happy to see that she’s regaining her life. I know the battle isn’t over - after radiation is a second mastectomy, but we’ve come this far and I’m grateful.

A family member is no longer suffering

This has been a tough year. My husband lost his sister. That was hard for the family. But she had suffered for a long time and was only getting worse; COPD, heart disease, and pneumonia had been taking their toll for a long time. She suffers no more. She’s at peace and her pain is gone. For an end to her suffering, we are grateful.

Feeling grateful feels good

Do I always feel grateful, always recognize the good? No, I know I’m not always grateful. There are times when I don’t see the light but instead recognize only the dark, the negative things that are staring me in the face. Human nature can take charge and like anyone, I can feel low, sad, not see the goodness around me when hard times seem to be the only things in my vision. I think that’s true of almost anyone.

But today I am grateful. And it feels really good.

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