Gratitude: This year I’m grateful for time.
Me and Dad, before prom my sophomore year of high school.
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 to...it 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.