This month I celebrate the memory of my dad who passed in 2016. When I sat down to write this week’s blog, I recalled a visit with him while in the hospital and was happy to discover that I captured the memory in a blog. This week, in honor of Thanksgiving here in the states, I’d like to share my dad’s wisdom with you.
~*~ Today I am grateful ~*~
I spent this morning at the hospital with my dad who had a heart attack last week. He’s been blessed with nearly a year of good health thanks to kidney dialysis, and this is the first major setback he’s had since.
While I lean toward green juice, exercise, and a variety of alternative approaches to healthcare, I thank God for the advances of modern medicine. It was miraculous to see my dad go from what seemed to be the brink of death to living independently again.
This morning, as I sat with him while he finished breakfast, we talked about the challenges of staying in the hospital – being poked and prodded all day long, vital sign checks in the middle of the night, and the less-than-ideal food choices.
“You know, Cheryl,” he said, “I realized that while I could be angry and upset about being here, I could also change my thinking and see it differently.”
How so?, I asked.
“Well, I could see myself as a man being treated like a king. After all, I get served three meals a day – some in bed. I have an escort wherever I go. I have people checking in on me all day long. And everyone cleans up after me.”
And he gets to watch golf any time he wants.
We talked about his perspective and the healing power of gratitude and decided to play a game where we went back and forth between us listing examples of things to be thankful for…
A door on the bathroom instead of a curtain.
A spacious, private room, standard for the cardiac floor.
Clean sheets every day.
My sister Shelly, his staunch healthcare advocate.
Closed captioning on the TV (my dad is nearly deaf).
Kind and competent nurses and doctors.
A room with a window so the sunlight can come in.
As I watched my dad play this gratitude game with me, I felt thankful for his genes. I’ve inherited his resilience and strength, especially in the toughest of times.
I know I write about gratitude a lot, and there’s a reason. It’s healing. It’s hopeful. It reorients us to what’s good. And it reminds us that despite a world that can feel uncertain and tumultuous, we can always find something to appreciate.
Your heart will get stronger with each grateful thought, I tell my dad as I leave him later in the day. It’s just as important as the medication you take and the procedures you endure.
He smiles a smile that says “You don’t have to tell me, kiddo, I’m your dad, remember?”
And this morning, I do.
P.S. –My new audiobook, Self Care for the Wisdom Years, is now available from Sounds True. You can find it, here.