Friday started at 3:30 am when I woke up way too early and knew there probably was no chance I would go back to sleep. Too much was happening and I was more than a little worried about some of the details as I was also trying to avoid some memories.
Friday was Veterans Day, which you already knew, but it was also the day my little sister died so suddenly that even five years later, it still seems impossible.
Last year, right before Veterans Day I went to a program on palliative care for veterans called Wounded Warriors: Their Last Battle. The speaker addressed the need to thank our veterans for the services they provided to keep our country free, before they die. Since I have always been one who feels that if there is a need, it is up to me, I quickly planned a breakfast to thank as many veterans as I could. It felt good to have a new focus for a day that had taken on such sad memories and was successful enough that I decided to plan something much bigger and better for this year.
So what I thought I would be writing that I was thankful for would include some of the people who helped or thanks for a job that allows me to do this type of program, or thanks that it was a success, instead I am thankful for the things you could NEVER plan and could not have made happen.
As the event drew to a close, it was great to hear that people had enjoyed and appreciated the event. I admit I was feeling pretty good about what we had done and I was just about to sit down, take a few minutes to enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite to eat. As I poured my cup, I saw a woman and who I thought was probably her son, come into the auditorium as the tables were being cleared.
They had gotten lost and no, she was not the veteran, he was,.
All the extra food had been cleared from all the tables, but I encouraged them to at least sit down with me and have a cup of coffee. I found a server who would locate two more breakfasts and they agreed to stay. It seems he had not been out of the service long, but his 5 years in, and his deployments to Iraq had taken their toll. Here was a mom, trying to find that connection again, with a son, who had changed from seeing war up close.
For those of us sitting there, we wished we could offer more than an ear, when about that time, someone else came in late, only this is where you have to know that someone or should it be Someone, had a greater purpose for our little event.
The other late attendee, specializes in finding those resources, providing those needs, helping make those connections. She knew the right questions to ask, she quickly offered her services, and helped begin to build that bridge, that connection back, back for the family that once was.
How can you not be thankful for that?
As I said, Friday was also the anniversary of my little sister passing away. I was glad that the day had been so full and that I was so tired that I really had not had the time to sit and grieve and that did not dawn on me until late in the afternoon as I went to pick up my girls. As I sat at the traffic light, I looked up right as this truck drove by.
I am thankful for things that I cannot control that work out so much better than I could ever plan. I am thankful for someone who cares enough to make these surprises, these unexpected things happen and makes me stop and take that moment to think, to feel, that I might have missed otherwise.