Thorns and Thankfulness

Like many times before, November reminds me to reflect on the things I am grateful for. I usually either write down the year’s events or just replay in my mind all the good things I got to witness, enjoy, and somehow be involved in. We can all agree 2020 was a year that was difficult to always find gratefulness due to the effects of the pandemic and how our world was changed: I wasn’t prepared though for the thorn bushes of 2021.

A little about me, I was a product of a young couple who mostly married because of me. My parents separated when I was four and my half-brother and I were raised by a single struggling mother. I had a relationship with my father, but it wasn’t healthy and stable.

I was blessed to have an uncle (maternal side) who acted as a father figure to me. He was a black belt in Karate, Grand Master in Muay Thai, 2nd degree in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu , and three time World Champion. I thought he was a God. I looked to him for protection, for strength, and mostly love; He gave me all those things and more.

Unfortunately, I lost my mother to a car wreck at the age of thirteen, and my brother and I were left feeling lost and abandoned. We would have to learn to grow up and fast. We were so very grateful to have the love of our uncle to guide us though, and he did. He also was an important role model to my children, who are now twenty six and fourteen. He helped us stop to smell the roses of life and always search for peace and love.

On April 18th , my uncle was admitted to the hospital and later into ICU ward for COVID-19. On April 20th , my son went into rehab for drugs and alcohol. Two men in my life were faced with a battle and I felt very lost and hopeless. I wanted to fix it but knew I couldn’t. I lost my uncle on May 13th of this year. I will never forget praying with him and our special last moments. Many tears were cried by many people for he was well known in his community and taught many people how to protect themselves and learn many forms of martial arts. He had a beautiful celebration of life where my estranged father attended. We are now reconnected and restoring our relationship.

As for my son, he is out of rehab, staying sober and has a wonderful high paying job. I am so proud of him. I knew it would be a struggle because substance abuse runs in our family. I am also in recovery and gratefully have six years of sobriety. My son purchased my uncle’s truck that has his Martial Arts School logo on it and refuses to remove it from the back window.

I will end this to share that even through the many pricks from those ugly thorns of 2021, I am grateful for my recovery, for the faith in my higher power whom I call God, to be present to those who needed me, and to have the love and guidance from the CDP and to learn to stop and smell the roses of life even when they can be surrounded by thorns.

“Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns, I am thankful that thorns have roses”
-Alphonse Karr

Submitted by a Grateful Recovering Dental Hygienist