Saturday, November 30, 2013


In honor of Thanksgiving, and in tribute to a year I've had to struggle to come to terms with, here's something I wrote about Gratitude.

Gratitude: This year I’m grateful for time. 

Me and Dad, before prom my sophomore year of high school.

Losing my Dad this year was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. But while it’s been so hard, I’m so thankful for time. 

I’m thankful for the time we had to spend with Dad earlier in our lives. Memories are full of thanksgiving feasts at home, family vacations, card games and rumikub. Full of memories of being at work events when my very popular and well-known Dad was there, too. His beam of pride when we’d encounter each other at those events. His “lady goes” game he’d play with each successive Smith family grandbaby. His complete and total support of us and the life decisions that led us to where we are.

With his diagnosis, we had time. Time to grow accustomed to the idea that Dad would leave us. Time to get used to the idea of cancer and all that it brought with it. Time to say goodbye. Time many families don’t get. We learned so much about life, living, death, and dying from Dad. My father really changed my attitude about facing a terminal illness. I learned that not every illness is a fight. Sometimes the task is merely to endure to a quiet peace. All of it was just amazing to bear witness changed me profoundly.

During our Disney trip, we had one afternoon. It was the Sunday when everyone had finally collected together, when all five kids and both my parents were in a room together, when time seemed to stop. It was one of those moments in life I will never forget. We had the door open to the Florida August heat, Dad was always chilly near the end. We could hear the piped-in Disney music, but it was beautiful. Dad kept telling us to listen to the music. He’d cry. We’d cry. Then in the next breath he’d say something sarcastic and we’d all laugh so hard we’d cry again. The afternoon seemed to stretch on for an eternity, even though now looking back I realize it was over in a blink. But it was time. Precious, beautiful time. 

This moment is forever frozen in time for me, now. 

And now, just over three months later, I’m grateful again for time. It does what people always say about grief. It softens the edges. It dulls some of the pain. It gives you time to get used to living without that person on this earth with you. It’s not easy. But it gets less hard. With time.


  1. Karen, this is such a beautiful post, and such an important reminder of how precious time really is. I hope your heart continues to heal.

    Thank you for sharing.

  2. This is a great post, Karen. Thank you so much for sharing it. I feel the same way about my mother's leukemia diagnosis. Though there were times that were more awful than I ever imagined, I am grateful for every day I had with her. And I am grateful for people who understand my pain, though I'm sorry they had to go through it to understand it.

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