dreaming about the things that we could be

I’ve been inexcusably busy lately and as turkey and stuffing came and went, I didn’t get the chance to write my annual “thankful for” post. Given the year that we’ve had, forgetting to be thankful for things seems deplorable. So let me backtrack.


I am thankful for my mother.

If you haven’t heard me say it before, let me repeat myself now: Cancer is no joke. It isn’t a single bit of fun—even if you do have a blast trying on exotic wigs and trash the wig store by insisting on unfolding every one of the beautifully-patterned silk scarfs. It isn’t something I’d ever recommend—even if it does mean you get to watch old movies on the couch and you get to play hooky from work to go to the beach and you get to eat endless amounts of popsicles. It’s really, really hard.

For me, cancer is all about life lessons. Learning to appreciate every day. Learning to lean on the people who love you. Learning to ask for help. Learning that you have the greatest mother on the face of the planet and you would trade just about anything to make her happy and healthy again. Learning that not everyone is as lucky as you are—not everyone wins their battles.

That was going to be the end of my “thankful for” list until I thought about things again. Because while my year has revolved around my mother and her battle with cancer, I realize that there are about a gazillion people who I owe some things to as well. Doctors, and nurses, and med techs, and Central Baptist Hospital cafeteria workers, and little brothers who had faith it my ability to hold everything together, and wonderful friends who helped me hold everything together, and a husband who let me fall apart, and every single person who asked me if things were OK, and bosses who let me run out of the office on a minute’s notice, and family who brought casseroles and DVDs and hats and head scarfs, and the ladies at the wig shop in Grogans who have an incredible gift of making everyone feel beautiful, and Sweet Brown who helped me make my mom laugh when I gave her an animated explanation for why we shouldn’t waste time wallowing (aint nobody got time for that).

And that’s just to name a few. There really are a gazillion things to be thankful for.

And so if you’re looking for a little inspiration, let me lend a hand.

I watched a documentary earlier this year about a kid who was losing his battle with a rare form of cancer. He wrote a song that he said helped him deal with coming to terms with his death. Really, what he did was leave behind something that his family and friends could keep forever. Zach died in May. This Christmas, a choir of strangers in the Mall of America remembered him with his song.

If you have 20 minutes today (and a box of tissues handy), the documentary is worth watching.

Or you can watch the 3-minute version—his music video that gives information about his cancer and how people can donate to research.

And just for fun, here’s the video of his celebrity friends singing Zach’s song.


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