Time To Be Grateful. . .Like It or Not.


It’s that time of year again. . .another holiday to reflect on our lives. In all honesty, today, I felt sad and lonely. Mostly for having very few people in my life to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with, besides my mom. There were no children running around the house, no siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles. Nobody fighting about who would slice the turkey. Heck, I don’t even eat meat!

Nevertheless, my mother and I prepared a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal, and set the table with all the trimmings. We sat and ate, shared a few stories and  within a blink of an eye, our meal had come to an end. I excused myself from the table, still feeling somewhat depressed and wishing we could somehow miraculously multiply as a family.

Then I went downstairs to be alone and I called Michael’s mom, Susan. (For those of you who don’t know, Michael is the reason for this blog. He is the reason you are reading this right now. He is a part of my life, even after taking his own.) When I spoke to Susan, she sounded grateful. Grateful for the phone call; grateful to be remembered, grateful to know that she was loved.

Then I thought how silly I was for feeling like I was somehow cheated. Sure, I don’t have a house full of family members strewn about, mixed with all the chaos and craziness associated with the typical Thanksgiving holiday. But, who cares? Why was I comparing my life to what should be the norm? Who decides what the norm is? Does that even matter?

After talking to Susan and hearing her voice, I felt incredibly grateful. That phone call made me realize that I’m grateful for having her in my life, and the fact that she is loved.

I realized that we all have something to be grateful for. We don’t need to live in a mansion, we don’t need to drive fancy cars, we don’t need to have big families, and we don’t even need to be ecstatic about where we are in our lives. But, we’re not alone, even if we feel like we are.

One thing Michael did, that I recommend to all, was to write a gratitude list. He would write about anything and everything that he was thankful for…things like a roof over his head, food in his refrigerator, legs to walk with, and a computer to write on. . . .

So, today, I am grateful. I am grateful for have having known Michael. I’m grateful for Susan and her loving husband, Paul. I’m grateful for my tiny family. I’m grateful for being loved.  And, I’m grateful to all of you who are reading this right now.

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Endings Are The Start Of New Beginnings


The old saying, "all good things must come to end" is probably more accurate than we would like to believe. And certainly if the end is not followed by fresh new starts and new beginnings, we can feel as though our "story" is ending. This can lead to depression or just a lack of motivation and passion for life. But, it doesn't have to. Perhaps we should view our lives as a sequel. We are simply moving from one book to the next in the ever building drama of our lives, in which we, and our supporting cast, are the main characters.

The end of a job, a relationship, a passion or pursuit should be viewed as an opportunity to move on to the next chapter; the next book in this sequel we are in. Closed doors cause us to look for open doors. Endings are the start of new beginnings.

 

The truth is, endings are a part of all our lives. It’s the price we must pay to move forward and arrive at our next destination. How we view those endings in our lives will determine how passionately we pursue the opportunities awaiting our future.


With the right attitude and the motivation to move forward, you can let your endings or failures be the fuel that moves you to seek the new beginnings that will create new opportunities, relationships and directions. Look for new beginnings today. They are most likely not far away from your reach!

 

Remember, your “story” is still being written!

A spontaneous quote. . .


Love is thicker than blood. No matter who it is in your life, love will always be true. ~Danny Horton

To Those Whom I Love And Those Who Love Me


When I am gone, release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do
You must not tie yourself to me with tears
Be happy that I have had so many years

I gave you my love, you can only guess
How much you gave me in happiness
I thank you for the love each have shown
But now it is time I travelled on alone

So grieve a while for me, if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust
It is only for a while that we must part
So bless the memories in your heart

I will not be far away, for life goes on
So if you need me, call and I will come
Though you cannot see or touch me, I will be near
And if you listen with your heart, you will hear
All of my love around you soft and clear Then, when you must come this way alone
I will greet you with a smile and welcome you home.

Tribute video to Michael


Opinion: "Equality in Suffering; Equality in Courage" by Kirsten Shaw


There is no particular ‘type’ of person who suffers from depression; no demographic norm that fits people into convenient statistical boxes. Not one person is immune from this disease, and if there is such a thing as a ‘cure’, then it is truly individual. While there may be a holistic group of symptoms common to all who suffer; the cause and outcome effect of these signs vary in magnitude and duration in each of us. However; to the untrained eye depression; a feared and ill-understood entity, is all too frequently associated with a generic group of ‘down on their luck’ individuals. Perhaps it is this perception that results in the reluctance of some sufferers to speak about, and seek help, with the incoherent feelings and emotions that flood their daily lives. After all, nobody wants to voluntarily admit to experiencing depression if it results in large sectors of society casting them as a slightly crazy, unsuccessful social anomaly. I can certainly relate to, and understand, the weight that societal expectations play in any individual’s perception of themselves, and their subsequent choices based upon these beliefs. However, as it often seems with depression, the reality of the situation is far removed from public opinion and stereotypes. Depression knows no ‘type’ of person, it is an illness that exists in society, and no one in society is exempt. While this appears overwhelmingly disheartening, devastatingly diverse and ambiguous to treat, the universality of the disease may offer a flicker of hope to suffers. Those who have ever known the dark encumberment of depression will be all too familiar with the regular and sometimes overpowering sense of loneliness, the inescapable feeling that you are totally isolated. Again, the reality is very different from what we have the tendency to perceive. You are not alone in your suffering, and you are certainly not alone in your tremendous courage to endure. You are one of a group, a group that is made up of unique and astonishing people; a group whose members exceed one hundred million. This great assembly of individuals includes humans from every walk of life, people bravely living each day with an illness that pays no regard to their skin colour, age, sex, wealth, or celebrity status. Vince Lombardi (NFL coach) once said “people who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defences, or the problems of modern society.” Depression is a problem of modern society and perhaps, as a group more should be made of the seemingly unending network of support which members can lend to each other, inspiring hope and perseverance even in the face of our greatest tribulations. Furthermore, and finally; imagine if you will the awesome impact of a unified voice to quell the ignorant stigmas that so blithely hamper the health, well being, and happiness of millions of extraordinary people across this beautifully diverse planet.

Opinion: “Equality in Suffering; Equality in Courage” by Kirsten Shaw


There is no particular ‘type’ of person who suffers from depression; no demographic norm that fits people into convenient statistical boxes. Not one person is immune from this disease, and if there is such a thing as a ‘cure’, then it is truly individual. While there may be a holistic group of symptoms common to all who suffer; the cause and outcome effect of these signs vary in magnitude and duration in each of us. However; to the untrained eye depression; a feared and ill-understood entity, is all too frequently associated with a generic group of ‘down on their luck’ individuals. Perhaps it is this perception that results in the reluctance of some sufferers to speak about, and seek help, with the incoherent feelings and emotions that flood their daily lives. After all, nobody wants to voluntarily admit to experiencing depression if it results in large sectors of society casting them as a slightly crazy, unsuccessful social anomaly. I can certainly relate to, and understand, the weight that societal expectations play in any individual’s perception of themselves, and their subsequent choices based upon these beliefs. However, as it often seems with depression, the reality of the situation is far removed from public opinion and stereotypes. Depression knows no ‘type’ of person, it is an illness that exists in society, and no one in society is exempt. While this appears overwhelmingly disheartening, devastatingly diverse and ambiguous to treat, the universality of the disease may offer a flicker of hope to suffers. Those who have ever known the dark encumberment of depression will be all too familiar with the regular and sometimes overpowering sense of loneliness, the inescapable feeling that you are totally isolated. Again, the reality is very different from what we have the tendency to perceive. You are not alone in your suffering, and you are certainly not alone in your tremendous courage to endure. You are one of a group, a group that is made up of unique and astonishing people; a group whose members exceed one hundred million. This great assembly of individuals includes humans from every walk of life, people bravely living each day with an illness that pays no regard to their skin colour, age, sex, wealth, or celebrity status. Vince Lombardi (NFL coach) once said “people who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defences, or the problems of modern society.” Depression is a problem of modern society and perhaps, as a group more should be made of the seemingly unending network of support which members can lend to each other, inspiring hope and perseverance even in the face of our greatest tribulations. Furthermore, and finally; imagine if you will the awesome impact of a unified voice to quell the ignorant stigmas that so blithely hamper the health, well being, and happiness of millions of extraordinary people across this beautifully diverse planet.

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