Give Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend, and most people are celebrating with huge meals either today or tomorrow. Normally around this time of year I’m pushing savory seitan recipes and sweet and plentiful desserts however my mind has been forcibly shifted to other things.

I’m sorry to tell you that this isn’t a food post, but I’m hoping at least that it is food for thought. While I was milling around last week – trying to make holiday plans with my loved ones I lost a friend to colon cancer. All my plans this weekend were dashed (even before this sad event) because of commitments outside of my control and although I have spent a lot if time with family this weekend, it wasn’t under the best of circumstances.

Last night I was feeling a little sorry for myself, I’m sick, I’m sad and I’m downright burnt out. The way I feel right now is not a commitment to myself, the sadness I feel right now is not how I want to remember my friend, this selfish-thinking (oh-woe-is-me) is not how I will carry out my life. So I started this post on what I’m thankful for, because there is so much to appreciate even when 2012 has felt like an awful vortex I couldn’t climb out of. 

My family life has had it’s ups and down this year, with the passing of my Father and several illnesses and deaths that seems to pile up, but I tried to think of the good things, the contributions each person had made to the world and I took comfort in that. For the people that were, and are ill in my life, I devoted my time to them, you never know when time runs out and I’m thankful that even though this year was incredibly hard for me it taught me over all that time is precious, a lesson I will never forget. For my friends and family that are in good health I squeezed them tighter. Making sure I tried my best not to cancel any plans (this action totally ran me into the ground for months) because on the back burner I wondered what if this is the last opportunity I have to spend with this person? Stubborn drive, you can be one of my best assets.

Staying up late to write letters, trying to be others support team even when I could not support myself. Trying to be selfless because sometimes you have to, and it makes you stronger. I’m way stronger. Perseverance, I’m thankful for you.

 I’m thankful for my boyfriend who has been my constant support system and soft place to fall. He never waivers but he does call me on my BS when I’m having a pity party for one which is exactly what I need. I’m thankful to have found someone that is exactly what I need as well as what I always wanted.

I’m thankful for my neighbours/friends/co-workers, whether they are one third or all thirds of that backslash-run-on-designation, you know who you are. You’ve been my support when I feel like I couldn’t get through the day, you made me think positively or forced me to when I felt I couldn’t; most of all you made me smile even with tears in my eyes. I can’t thank you enough.

I’m so thankful I have dogs, and that my dogs are in good health. I know that seems like a silly thing to be thankful for, but my dogs make me get out of my head. Dogs have needs and although I know my dogs knew what I was feeling, they still needed me to get up every morning. They needed me to go outside with them so they forced on me fresh air and exercise. They needed me to be present, and force me to be so on several occasions, not allowing me to daydream scapes of negative thoughts. My dogs are my saviors and I’m thankful for them.

I guess this whole post is really about appreciating what you have and letting the people in your life that you love know how you feel. One of the best ways I know how to do that, is to look after yourself and make yourself a priority for your health and well-being. Otherwise you can’t and won’t be there to show people how much you care. It’s easy to feel invincible, and to feel like this bad stuff can-never touch you, or at least not until ‘I’m older’. I want to tell you this, my friend died at 34 years of age, from a disease that could have been prevented. He could have lived if he knew what he was looking for. The last year of his life was devoted to his health, his family but also his public. He tried hard to make himself an example so that he might save one of his friends or one of theirs. My heart goes out to his family and although I feel he will be remembered for his music, they should take some comfort in the fact he left a legacy of compassion, positivity and education. To help him be remembered please raise awareness about causes you are familiar with. Outreach saves lives, especially when people can connect with you (and your experiences) more than they can a pamphlet.

One of the contributing factors to colon cancer is a diet high in red meat and processed foods. For more information on contributing factors please visit the Canadian Cancer website here. If you are able to donate money to research you can do so safely on the Colon Cancer Canada website here.

Lastly I want to thank you for reading, not just today but for following my blog. You may not know how much it means to me, but I still feel an obligation to post even when things are hectic because it brings me joy to know you read, and I touch some of you whether it’s your hearts or stomachs, or both.

XO,

Amy

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