So I was thinking about Thanksgiving, which is tomorrow. Of course we all know the devastating history/origin of the holiday and how it's actually nothing to be thankful for. We were taught lies in school and since then most of us have been awakened to the truth. If you haven't, do your own research. That's not what I'm here for today.
Regardless of Thanksgiving's history, I never turn down the opportunity to express my gratefulness, on a holiday or otherwise. Anytime I'm afforded an extra chance to count my blessings and love on my family and friends, I'll take it. I've already talked about gratefulness a couple times on the blog this year. However, this year has been HEAVY and at times has made it difficult to focus on having that attitude of gratitude. Personally, I've experienced some good things this year, but at the same time I feel overwhelmed by all the disappointment and loss. 2020 has been a roller coaster to say the least.
Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season is going to look strikingly different for most of us. We'll need to actively stretch beyond our dismay in what we are missing or have lost and center our sights on all that we still have and are gaining in the midst of the turmoil. When the negativity and weight of life starts feeling unbearable, I become intentional about shifting my focus and dwell on all that's good. I've also begun to take special notice of things I once took for granted and now realize I need to have more appreciation for. Here's my "Thanksgiving" list.
Happy Thanksgiving!! Let's strive to make the most of it.
So I was thinking about blogging and entrepreneurship. Since my relaunch, I've had a few epiphanies that I'd like to share.
So I was thinking about you. This letter to you is going to be a long one. It might bore my subscribers, but I HAD to get this out. My thoughts have been filled with you often since you left us back in 2007. I'm consumed with even more thoughts of you at this time of year. November-March is ROUGH. Every Thanksgiving season I think about how Thanksgiving 2006, your last Thanksgiving on Earth, was the BEST Thanksgiving our immediate family has ever experienced. The memories from that day make me smile and I feel grateful that we were able to share such holiday joy with you one last time. Reminiscing of that day also makes me feel melancholy, because I don't want that to be your last Thanksgiving.
I constantly vacillate between feelings of happiness and sorrow for about 4.5 months. After Thanksgiving, we prepare for Christmas, another holiday that focuses on family and is a harsh reminder that yanks off another piece of the scab that covers the hole that you left in my heart. I think about how we got up on Christmas morning and exchanged gifts. You gave me the Four Brothers and Juice DVDs, lol. I want to say that's the first time you ever gave me a Christmas gift. Then, you left and did your own thing for the day. After Christmas, it's time to enter another new year without you and another little piece of that scab over that hole in my heart is ripped off. At the end of January, I remember that you gave me and momma Valentine's Day gifts and I KNOW that was your first time ever giving me a gift for V-Day...and it was also your last. I think about how I said to you, "Thank you, but why are you giving this to us so early?" I remember you saying that you wanted to make sure you had money. Then, I think about how I said to you, "But, we get paid again before Valentine's day" And you just shrugged. What did you know that we didn't, brother?? I mean you had to have been feeling some kind of way, because I think about how a few days before you gave us that gift, you dropped me off at the Smith's house. I remember you walking in behind me and me telling you that Isaiah wasn't there and asking you why you came in. I remember you standing at the foot of the stairs inside and just looking around. Did you feel it?? Did you know you wouldn't have these opportunities again??? How did you know? What did you feel?
February comes and that last piece of that scab that covers that hole in my heart is snatched off and it begins to bleed and throb again with such unbearable pain. As long as I live, I will NEVER forget February 2, 2007. I think about how it was Friday and I got that call while I was at work. I'll never forget momma's words, "He gone. Cheryce Don is gone!" I cannot erase my memory of the sound of utter horror and despair in momma's voice as she told me what happened, as she told me that you died in a car accident on your way to get a haircut before work. I think about my reaction, the calls I had to make, the ride home, the cars that filled our driveway and our block when I got home. I think about the look of emptiness in momma's eyes, how it looked as if her soul had left with yours. I think about having to pick your casket and your burial plot and writing your obituary. I think about having to tell your nephew that you went to heaven. I think about your funeral and all the people there and all the things that were said and all the wonderful things I learned about you. I think about your last moments, I wonder what you saw and if you said anything and what you thought about. I think about whether or not you felt any pain. I wonder if you know how much you were loved by so many. I think about how I wish I could have told you how much I loved you one more time. I think that you knew that I did though. I think about how it has been almost 14 years and I'm actually still in disbelief. Speaking and thinking of you in the past tense still seems surreal. When I look at the pictures that I have of you in my room, I literally shake my head and say out loud that I can't believe you're gone. The times I have gone to your grave feel like a dream, a nightmare where I keep seeing your name on a headstone...a HEADSTONE! Even though it has been so many years, it is still hard for my heart to grasp the reality of you not being here. You're my LITTLE brother and I feel like you left right when we seemed to be catching up in age and were going to get closer. I think about how I changed your diapers and rocked you to sleep and watched Barney and Teenage Mutant Turtles (which I HATED) with you. I think about how I would make you think you were playing the video and how you got hip to my trickery and would restart the game RIGHT when I was about to kill Koopa and rescue the princess, lol!!
After we get through the hell that is February, we make it to March. I think about how the family had been planning to go to Red Lobster for your 20th birthday, because you kept talking about how you had never been. I'm pretty sure you had been before and just forgot, but we had so much fun talking about it and planning to go. I think about how you never made it to your 20th birthday or Red Lobster. Every March 21st since 2007, we go to Red Lobster to celebrate you and mama makes us eat a shrimp in your honor. She says it was your fave. Was it? I don't remember that, lol. That day we talk and laugh about all the good things and I usually notice after that day that the bleeding and throbbing pain from that hole in my heart has stopped and I realize that scab has covered that hole again. I think about the healing that time brings about and how, in my experience, the healing isn't deep or permanent. The hole in my heart is big and the scab is ugly and it never lets me forget you or the pain of losing you, but I'm able to live and cope and find happiness in the midst of my pain and confusion and unanswered questions.
Brother, there are so many things I wonder and so much I want to tell you and talk to you about. I think about what my world would be like if you were still here. I think about how so much within our family would be different. Your nephew is 18 now! He was only 4 when you left, but you all were extremely close. You were his person! I think about the different path he might have taken had you still been here with him. Do you know our baby brother has a fiance and 2 beautiful baby girls?? And our niece has a beautiful and smart 10 year old daughter! You would absolutely love them all and I know they'd adore you! And as you see, I'm a blogger. I've done a lot of different things since you've been gone. It would have been so cool to share them with you live and in person. And I know you would get an absolute kick out of me still not being remarried🙃 Daddy got really sick a couple years ago and we thought he was on his way to be with you! He had colon cancer! Can you believe it?? I bet you can guess that his faith never wavered though. He was comforting us from his death bed! They got all the cancer and he's fine now. God gave us more time. Momma is doing better than she had been, but she still misses you beyond words. And daddy misses you too. He cries about you and Junior often. Yes. Daddy CRIES!! He's become very emotional in his old age and especially since his brush with death. The world is a mess. I don't even have time to go into all that. You'd be happy to know that your bestie has never left our side. He has kept in touch with the family since you left. He is family. He is my brother and I'm thankful he didn't forget about us. As a matter of fact, our baby brother's fiance is your BFF's cousin! He's married now and has a new baby. Bro, we won't even talk about who he married though...🙄🤐He's very "woke", basically a 21st century Marcus Garvey, lol. I wonder if you would be married or have children and what your career would be and where you would live and if anything would ever come of you playing basketball. Is Kobe where you are? Were you surprised to see him?? I always think about how good of a dancer you were with your big tall self and how you would probably be killing all these lil funny looking dances that are out now. One last thing because my feelings are plentiful, but my words are running low. You know how momma thought you were THEE funniest person on the planet?? I can make her laugh a little bit now! Lololololol, but she is a TOUGH crowd.
I love you brother and I really hope you knew that when you were still here. I see you in my dreams from time to time. It always seems SO real and I wake up sad because it isn't. Anyway, I miss you tremendously and I'm thankful for the time we had. I try not to overwhelm myself with all the shoulda coulda wouldas, although I still wish this was all a dream.
So I was thinking about the Coronavirus. "Rona" has issued a devastatingly unexpected blow to the world. I have personally experienced loved ones who have been infected and/or lost their lives to the virus. On top of the physical effects, there has also been a drastic decline in our economy, we've had to become uncomfortably creative with how we work, educate/learn, socialize, shop, worship, and simply live! Over the last several months, anxiety, worry, and disappointment have been high, while peace, joy, and faith have been low. From what I see, the majority of us have had to put extra effort in being hopeful and seeing the bright side. We're squinting, using the highest wattage bulb we can find, slapping on our bifocals, and pulling out the old BluBlockers just to get a glimpse of some light. And I must admit, there are some good things that have come about as a result of COVID-19. Here are the top 5 things I'm grateful for.
So I was thinking about the election. Aren't we all? 2020 has been an extraordinary year. It has been filled with much loss, fear, disappointment, confusion, anxiety, and much of that has been in the last few weeks! The presidential race has been a LOT to process. The last 4 years have been a lot for that matter. This administration assisted in bringing to light America's true colors...
In addition to what we have been experiencing collectively as a nation, many of us have also encountered personal adversities that have caused us to more actively, intentionally, and creatively seek and hold on to peace. I'd like to share with you a few things that have kept me sane this year and continue to do so while we wait on the outcome of the election.