In the month of November it is common to focus on gratitude and the many blessings that we have each day, month, and year. November is always a special month for me as it is my birthday month. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate each of those years than with a feeling of gratefulness! This will be my first birthday celebrating without my Mom here. Although she is no longer here, she left me a lifetime legacy of unconditional love! At the time she gave me this gift I did not fully realize it’s full potential but it has shaped the person I am and continues to enrich my life. In the last several years I have been blessed to witness many beautiful and touching acts of unconditional love. The open heart I now possess is a direct gift from my Mom.
For much of the world, 2016 has been filled with negativity, cynicism, nasty rhetoric, mean spirited actions and focusing on everything that is wrong with the world. Many are suffering in multiple ways and it can make the world seem like a harsh and cruel place. The true beauty of unconditional love is… when we look at the world through the eyes of love… it not only looks better; it is better! We will always only see what we are looking for!! Focus on the good in any situation and you can find something to be grateful for.
Today, my daughter and her family said goodbye to their loving fur baby, Snickers. He had been diagnosed with cancer 3 months ago and was told he had 4-6 weeks to live. My daughter cherished every one of those days with her beloved friend. He was so much more than a pet. Everyday he showed her complete unconditional love. Snickers own mother had been killed when he was a baby and my daughter, Erica, bottle fed him and nurtured him until he was able to eat solid food. He in turn…loved her everyday with a heart far bigger than his small beagle body could hold. When she was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer almost 3 years ago, Snickers never left her side. After every treatment he would be right there and never even left to go outside. He developed several bladder infections from holding his urine because we simply could not move him away from her. Like most fur babies, he was pure love!! Losing Snickers was hard and we will all miss him, but we are so grateful to have had him in our lives. Snickers and Erica’s story of love is the most recent example of unconditional love I have been privileged to witness.
Our Holmes Family has been through a great deal of heartache and grief over the last several years and although it’s been challenging, we have tried to remain focused on the lessons we have learned and the good we might do. My Sister-in-law, Deborah Ziegler, is a perfect example of loving someone through the hardest days and continuing to show her unconditional love forever. Deb’s daughter, Brittany Maynard, passed away in 2014 due to terminal brain cancer and left this earth using physician assisted aid in dying, so that she might have a more peaceful death than what her seizures would allow. It was Brittany’s choice and Brittany’s wish to die in peace surrounded by those she loved. Deb recently wrote a beautiful book about her daughter’s life, struggle with her terminal illness and her choice for a death with dignity. The book, Wild and Precious Life, has put Deb back in the media hot seat and it is only her unconditional love for her daughter and her daughter’s message that keeps her moving forward. She inspires us all to always choose love!!
I am thankful for this connection and awareness to the love around me! I am blessed to have a loving family and generous friends who show me acts of love and kindness on a daily basis. Age is only a number, and I am truly grateful for every day, every week and every year that I am allowed to witness God’s creation and the abundance of beauty and love that surrounds us. Again, I can thank my Mom for teaching me to focus on the good!! As a child, when I would say something negative about someone…my Mom would tell me to think about all that was good about them. I admit that some days it is a challenge to see the good in a situation or a person, but more than once I have found a golden nugget inside a crusty rock.
I hope this November as we make our gratitude lists we will all look for the good in each other. Let us show and share our unconditional love. Love is the greatest gift we can give one another! The lovely heart artwork adorning this blog was a love inspired gift drawn by my granddaughter, Sophia. Sophia has given me these ‘love notes’ since she was about 4-5 years old. They are one of my cherished keepsakes! So as I turn 63 years old this month it will be with a full heart and much gratitude for all the good, all the love, and all that is right with the world. I hope you will join my November celebration of love and life!
Be Peace~ Be Love ~ Be Grateful