Gratitude from Abroad

Thankful, not because it's Thanksgiving, but because the date marks a lot for which to be grateful. Studies have shown that giving thanks often can lead to a more fulfilling life. Life has subtly (sometimes not so subtly) granted me opportunities to understand this.

Three years ago, to the day, was the worst day of my life. I lost my mom, and just like that, life changed forever. Over the past three years, I have seen the best of people and the worst of people (myself included). I have grieved, most often as productively as possible. I have overcome. I have acknowledged the positive and attempted to look at things through a colorful, bright, promising spectrum.

On Thanksgiving Day, those emotions come full circle, and I would be remiss to not be immensely grateful for the opportunity to give thanks for my mom's life, which paved the way to mine and made it richer, kinder, brighter and sweeter, and for the opportunity to find new things for which to be grateful (new life chapters, the generosity of friends and extended family, the resilience of my spirit and the realization that life really does go on, if you allow it to).

Today, as I kick off the day with my husband and my in-laws -- welcoming, generous and loving and healthy -- surrounded by the beauty of the outdoors and the intangible depth of stories carved into the pavements of Europe, I am once again reminded that Life, at its core, is good; that there's so much for which to be thankful; and that gratitude and enjoyment are what celebrating Life is all about. In that aspect alone, I have so much for which to say, THANK YOU.