How do you celebrate Thanksgiving when it’s hard to be thankful?
This has been on my mind a lot this past week. It can be hard to be thankful when there is so much broken in our world, in our lives, and for us spoonies, in our bodies too. Right now I have so much to be thankful for, yet all I can seem to gravitate towards is the fact we don’t know when/if I will walk again without serious assisted walking devices, I may need one (or two) major reconstructive surgeries that could change my life and way of living, my room is a disaster from all the sudden hospital trips and recoveries, some of my plants died when I was in the hospital, I might not be able to walk down the aisle or get married when we planned. I just do not feel super grateful.
Do you ever feel like that? Like even though you have an endless amount of things to be grateful for you can only focus on the things going wrong (or that might go wrong.) Maybe you have had an argument with your significant other or family member while getting ready with all of the stress the holidays bring and are too pissed off to feel grateful. Or you aren’t ready to go through this holiday season because the person you wish you could spend it most with is gone or has passed.
I don’t know what brought you to this blog post, but I would tend to bet that you want to give and feel love, happiness, and gratitude this holiday season. The first Thanksgiving after I almost died was very hard. To be honest I didn’t celebrate it and didn’t care to. Thanksgiving was only a couple weeks after everything happened and I was grieving over all I had lost- including myself. I was in a very dark place and surely did not want to be grateful or happy. A couple days before Thanksgiving in 2014, I was struggling just knowing that holiday was approaching and sought some advice from my therapist. During our conversation she challenged me to find three things- even the most insignificant things- and be grateful for them.
She challenged me to find three things- even the most insignificant things- and be grateful for them.
This was not easy. For about 6 months or more after that conversation I still struggled, but I always found three things I was thankful for. Most days my three things consisted of: getting to sleep in my house (rather than the hospital), the sun coming out, being able to brush my teeth on my own, for internet, for Netflix… you get it. Just to give you a little backstory, after I almost died I felt like I was a different person and everything that was “Cassie’s” such as physical things, experiences, or even my family and Jared weren’t mine. That’s why my family wasn’t initially on the list because it took a long time before they felt like my family again. If you want to hear more about that or where Jared fits in you can find that here.
Anyways back to the point. I found small things that would be insignificant to most, but they were three things that I was able to be thankful for. Over time those things turned into things that were more “meaningful” if you will, but the more I think about it, those insignificant things were very meaningful to me. Those things gave me hope in a world I didn’t want to be in. Since that conversation three years ago I still daily create a list of three things, some days they are very detailed and thoughtful and there are some days where I struggle to find three things.
This Thanksgiving I am choosing to be thankful for the fact that small victories are still victories.
I truly believe that no matter what you are facing this holiday season you can find joy and gratitude in that statement. Small victories can be things like finding out that your favorite ice cream is on sale, getting your kids to fall asleep before 11 (even after you have had to practically wrestle them back to bed 8 times), having a nice moment with your spouse, having a window in your hospital room, being able to go on a trip even though you have to use assistive devices, the sun coming out, making your bed in the morning, or choosing to be present and live in every day regardless of what is or might be up ahead.
What are your small victories? Let me know in the comments because I want to celebrate in gratitude with you!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
P.S. My three things today are: 1. a wonderful fiancé and family that I get to spend this Holiday with 2. That despite the things that lie ahead, right now I can use crutches 3. That regardless of all that has happened I am still me and the third thing I am thankful for is the sun, and that’s okay.