Short post today – Today, the weather forecast for the upper plains is unseasonably warm with no precipitation. I am grateful for this weather today. My youngest son is driving home from college. Additionally, my students will driving home for Thanksgiving break today. With the great weather forecast, my son and my students should have fewer problems getting home. For that, I am grateful. I also hope to take a walk outside and enjoy the weather.
Day 22 of the Gratitude Challenge
Everything is better after the Minnesota Vikings defeat the Green Packers. Also, it is Thanksgiving week. For many in the US, this means at least one day off from work, spending time with family and friends, shopping, and overeating. It also means that one can begin to listen to Christmas tunes.
My Thanksgivings as an adult are not the same as those of my youth. Growing up, our family celebrated Thanksgiving with another family (in later years, we added another family). We rotated which family hosted the meal. After the meal, the kids would play games while the adults debated and solved the problems of the world. I really miss those Thanksgivings. I am so grateful for those Thanksgivings.
In recent years, my family and parents in-law have gathered for a Thanksgiving meal often while watching the Detroit Lions play. We will do the same this year. In addition, my wife’s extended family gets together on the Saturday after Thanksgiving for what is known as The Gathering. The Gathering usually consists of three generations brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. Usually there are about 25-30 people in one place telling stories, eating, and laughing. Though it has been a part of my life for over 20 years, it still feels like a new tradition to me.
This year, we are hosting The Gathering. It is a lot of work to prepare for the event. My wife does an amazing job of coordinating all the details. And so our week will be spent preparing and gathering with family.
This year, I am looking forward to this week. Our youngest child be home for a few days. We will get at least two fantastic meals. We will spend time with family and friends. So today, I am grateful for the week to come. I am also grateful that Vikings defeated the Packers What’s something you look forward to in the future?
Day 17 of Gratitude Challenge
Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day where I live. It was near 70 degrees and mostly sunny. It was amazing weather for November. I was so grateful for the weather that I spent about an hour walking along one of our nature trails. While it meant I had to do some work at home later, it was worth it. I was so grateful for the nice weather and a flexible job that allows me to take a walk. The weather forecast for today is not as warm BUT it looks like it will be sunny.
Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She passed many years ago at the age of 97. When she was born a couple of years before the Wright Brothers historic flight. By the time she passed away, man had been to the moon and back. She lived through two world wars, a depression, the Spanish flu pandemic and basically everything else that happened in the 20th century. She didn’t smoke but she did eat eggs and bacon. She drank in moderation. She never joined a health club. She lived on her own until she was 96. Overall, she had very good health and lived long life.
I have had relatively few health problems in my life. When I look at my family and friends, I recognize how lucky I am. My father had heart issues. My mother had Parkinson Disease. Both my brothers were born with significant physical and mental disabilities. I have had friends die of cancer and other ailments.
So today, take time to be grateful for your health. Even if your health isn’t perfect, be grateful for the health that you have. Be grateful for health care workers and medicine. Thank a health care worker today.
Day 15 of Gratitude Challenge
I’m told that when he was born he was not expected to live more than 10 years. He defied the odds and lived almost 60 years.
14 months ago he contracted Covid and died 11 days later. In the first few months after his death, I vacillated between anger and sadness. Overtime, I made efforts to focus on gratitude. Gratitude for the memories I have. Gratitude for the lessons he taught me. Gratitude for the love he gave. Gratitude for the years he was alive. Gratitude for all he gave to me.
I’m still sad and occasionally angry. But mostly I am grateful to have had a brother like him. Today is his birthday. I’ll celebrate by taking some time to bee grateful for his life.
Today’s challenge requires you to think about somebody who has passed on and do so with gratitude for all the gifts they left for you.
Day 5 of the Gratitude Challenge
For a few moments yesterday, I was able to put a smile on my face thinking about special memories. There are many benefits to consistent and regular gratitude. Spending five minutes each day journaling about your gratitude, increases your happiness. Don’t believe me? Read about 27 other cool benefits here.
Today I challenge you to spend time being grateful for and focus on those people who make life better. Personally, there are too many to list here. For now, I will start with my family. They are the first thing I think about in the morning and the last thing I think about before I sleep. At some point today, I will reach out to at least one family member express my gratitude. Perhaps I might reach out to a couple. I challenge you to do the same. Happy Friday!
One Year Ago Part II
But mostly, today, I am sad. I miss him. I miss his smile. I miss his hugs.
This blog is mostly about my health journey. It is about how, in less than a year, I was able to transform my health and maintain it. The story of my transformation began one year ago today.
From the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic, I have been worried about my brothers. They both have significant health issues due to Trisomy 9. They are very vulnerable to viruses. What I had read COVID19 indicated this was a bad virus.
I was hoping this virus would fizzle out like the Swine flu in 1976 and 2009. But as numbers began to grow in South Dakota in late August 2020, so did my concern. Though the staff at his home took many precautions, on September 4, 2020, I received word that my oldest brother, Jefferson, was confirmed COVID19 positive. He was quarantined in his home and monitored. Staff checked on him regularly and took his vitals. Because of the nature of the virus, nobody was allowed to visit. I received frequent status reports on his progress. For the most part, things were looking good. After 11 days with no major symptoms, I hoped the worst was behind us.
Around 4:30 pm on September 14, 2020, I received a text update regarding Jefferson. It said “Oxygen 92% . . .Temp 99.9 Eating well. Was little agitated this afternoon so Tylenol was given.” This was the last update I would receive.
At approximately 2am on September 15, 2020, I was sound asleep when I was awakened by my dog barking. As I stumbled out of bed to discuss the inappropriateness of barking at 2am, I heard an electric buzz. It sounded odd. I didn’t know what it was. When I got to the main floor of my home, there was the dog still barking. Somebody was on our porch with a flashlight. It was just a bit freaky. Quickly I found the source of the light when I saw a uniformed police officer through the window. I immediately knew why he was at my house. I opened the door and he asked if I was Jason. I said yes. He asked if I had a brother name Jefferson. I said yes. He then informed me that he had passed away in his sleep. Dead at 59 from Covid19. SIDENOTE: I never got the name of the police officer. But I do want to thank him. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to tell someone you don’t know about the death of a loved one. Also, the buzzing was due to the doorbell breaking and needing to be replaced.
Statistically, my brother was COVID19 death number 200 in South Dakota. We now have nearly 2,000. His death unleashed a torrent of emotions that are still flowing through me. I am sad because he is gone. I am angry because I couldn’t stop his death. I am mad that we can’t seem slow this virus down and many more will die. I am pissed that the virus has become a political game to many. I am happy he isn’t in pain. I grateful for the perspective all of this has provided me but frustrated that I have even less patience for BS.
But mostly, today, I am sad. I miss him. I miss his smile. I miss his hugs. I miss talking with him. I miss the perspective he gave me. I didn’t visit him enough, but each visit made a difference for me (and I think for him). He will never know that I am the person I am today because of him. It is not coincidence that it was only a couple of days after what would have been his 60th birthday that I began this journey.
So today, I ask my readers, take a moment to reach out to those that you love. Tell them you love them. Give them a hug because you don’t know when you won’t be able to anymore.