What I am thankful for

For many years, it has been a family tradition (a tradition that was started by me) before we ate our Thanksgiving meal, during our prayer we would go around the table and share what we are most thankful for that year.

The first Thanksgiving after my stroke, at the dinner table sitting amongst my fiancée Kimberly, my mother, my father and Nephew, when it was my turn to share, the only thing I said was “I am thankful to be home.”

Most of the time my family members, including myself, would say things like “I am thankful for my family”, “I am thankful for my health” or “I am thankful for the food on our table”.  But that year, the six words I uttered “I am thankful to be home” caught everyone off guard.

Don’t get me wrong, it was not that I wasn’t grateful for my girlfriend who had become my fiancée six months earlier.  It was not that I wasn’t grateful that Kimberly stood beside me through the past four months I had fought to get my life back.  It was that the one thing I was most grateful for that year was simply being home.

A little over three months before Thanksgiving I was laying in a hospital bed in a rehabilitation hospital, starring off into the darkness of the night, fears that I might not ever be able to return home, take care of myself, and resume the life I had before my ischemic stroke to my spinal cord.

Those lonely nights in the rehab hospital were some of the scariest nights of my fie.  Not only did I fear I would never return home, but what scared me the most was the thought that all the hopes and dreams Kimberly and I had of building a life together and living it out in our own home, were in jeopardy.

But that Thanksgiving I wanted to thank the Lord, because I knew it was because of his grace and mercy that I was given the determination, strength and stubbornness, to get myself out of the rehab hospital, survive a life-threatening blood clot and return to living on my own in my one-bedroom apartment.

It has been fifteen years since my first Thanksgiving home after my stroke.  This year I am so thankful for many things, but still at the top of my list is that I can live at home, because I know that there are so many people who are unable to because of health issues, and for those people and their families, I pray for you.