BY: TAMI HARPER WINN
Giving thanks. What does that mean to me today? Well, on this very day of Thanksgiving I thought I’d share what that means to me. I am so thankful that I get to write a blog on this very day and that I have loyal followers who will read it. I am of course thankful for the obvious gifts I have in my life like my health, my freedom, my family, my friends, my God, my education, and my sobriety of course. Let’s not forget that this year I also got the most amazing blessing of meeting my grand daughter for the first time. I, who sometimes feels like I don’t deserve to be this blessed, have been given more than I can account for here in a simple blog. I have everything and I could honestly wish for nothing more. But, there was still something I felt I was missing as I listed my many blessings this year.
As I was looking through a stack of pictures that a dear friend was kind enough to print out for me, I will tell you it was not easy. There were pictures in there that were hard to look at and definitely brought about sad feelings. It was difficult, but as I combed over the events of this last year memories began to flood back. I couldn’t help but remember how much my life had drastically changed in one short year. Then it hit me – what I was the most thankful for this year. What I had almost missed.
Even though I was over come with emotion brought on by remembering, the fact was I remembered at all. I HAD MEMORIES. I hadn’t been blacked out drunk through any of it. In fact, my memory was as sharp as HDTV and even though a lot of it down right sucked, I could remember every part of it.
Now, you may think I’m crazy to want to remember some of the things that happened this year. But as I looked at the pictures I saw the still frames of moments in my life that I was fully present for and invested in fully.
Yes, my father did pass away. But, I would hope I never forget how much love I felt being able to be with him, caring for him, in his final moments. It was the most beautiful tender moment I have ever had.
Yes, my mother did pass away. But, before she did I got to see her receive my father’s flag after a 21-gun salute and hold her hand as she said goodbye to her best friend. I was honored.
Yes, my grandmother passed away. But, I got to let my best friend who took the picture, meet the greatest woman who ever lived.
Yes, my puppy of 16 years passed away. But, I got to be with my daughter as she held him in her arms and gave him comfort when it was his turn to go.
And I did in fact lose a lady, my son’s other grandma, who was once very central in my life. But, I got to make amends to her before she passed and watch her hold her grandson and first great grandson before she left. I got to help heal years of hurt.
I did suffer a big hit in losses this year. But, the fact that I will be able to remember those final moments is God’s greatest gift to me this year. They are very painful and that’s okay. They are only feelings and feelings aren’t facts.
The actual facts are that as a result of getting sober, of not putting a substance into my body, I got to witness life and remember it in all its glory. This year held such beautiful moments. Some of them would be the final moments I would have with those on my journey, but all of them were perfect exactly as I remember.
I had tremendous memories with those still on the journey with me from the first time we opened the microphone for DrunklessLife and watching my dear friend Scott sweat it out. He’s come so far. I was there with my daughter as we floated across the sky in a hot air balloon and marveled at the beauty God created. I was there for my grandson’s first steps, to watch all my grandchildren trick or treat together for the first time. I was there with my youngest son as he delivered the greatest final gift to my father – the chance to Skype with his grandpa and say goodbye face to face over the phone. I was there with my sister through family groups and the bonding and healing that happened. I was there with my oldest son as he won his long and hard custody battle for his children. I was there when my best friend Adrienne and I decorated my daughter’s car for her birthday and the laughter we shared that night and all the others before. I was there when my little brother needed an ear to listen and when my big brother needed some one to vent on. I was there to Skype with my best friend Erica as we watched the elections together like we did the last time we voted – only now she was in Washington and I was here. So much life happened in one year.
I witnessed it all and I can recall every detail. Even more, I can remember every detail about my life in general - except for a few blips from the blackout years. I have a memory. I am so grateful that today I want to remember. I can remember and I hope I never forget. Thank you God for getting me sober and helping me stay sober. I remember the pain it took to get here – another memory I never want to forget. I pray I always remember where I came from so I never have to go back. Thank you for my life and all my memories.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and yours. May those who still suffer find peace, those hurting find comfort, and those who are alone find each other. I pray for your all on this day.
~ Tami Harper Winn ~
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