A Time of Thankfulness

Author: Rachael Hill

Rachael and her boysThe holiday season is one that can be very difficult when you are missing someone you love. Everything is about family dinners and family outings. Family, family, family. While I love spending time with my boys and our friends that have become like family, there is always that stinging reminder that my “family” is not complete since my husband is no longer with us. I have many friends on Facebook doing the “30 days of thankfulness and today I am thankful for…” posts. While I do love that they are doing this and I always enjoy reading their responses, it’s not always that easy for me to step out of myself and see all of the good things in my life when there is such a huge piece that I am living without. However, I challenged myself, and my boys, to make this list and it has been a great reminder of all the things in our lives to be thankful for. 

Rachael’s List:
I am thankful for the ability to have a beautiful house and food on our table. It may not always be the healthiest food (a bad habit of mine), but we are definitely not starving. I am thankful for the opportunity to stay home with my kids and have a fun outside job that not only helps keep me healthy, but in many ways helps keep me sane. As a group fitness instructor I get to kick people’s butts in the gym and help them reach their fitness goals…who wouldn’t love that?!  I am thankful to live in Alaska and while the dark winters can be hard at times, it is the most beautiful state I have ever been to and the opportunities here are endless. I am thankful for the snow that makes this state what it is and I am thankful for my snowblower so that I don’t have to break my back shoveling the snow off my driveway!  I am thankful for family time with my boys while going camping, 4-wheeling, snowmachining, and snowboarding in the beautiful Alaskan landscapes. 
I am thankful to live in a democracy where even though you may not like who was elected, you at least had the opportunity to voice your opinion and vote. I am thankful for popcorn, M&M’s, and Mountain Dew. I am thankful for my iPhone because it keeps my life organized all in one little handheld device. I am thankful for the opportunity to travel with my boys. To take them to places they have never seen before and to visit friends that we don’t get to see very often. I am thankful for cereal because now my kids can make their own breakfasts and I can sleep in on the weekends.
Most importantly, I am thankful for the 13 years I got to spend with my amazing husband and the 2 beautiful boys we had together. They are my world and I could never have gotten through any of this without them. I am thankful for my family and friends who have been there supporting me since Jeff’s death. I am thankful for the Air Force and especially Jeff’s squadron, who’s people continue to step up and be there for us whenever we need it. I am thankful for our chocolate lab Titan who despite his OCD about playing fetch, has been my constant companion since my world was turned upside down. He follows me everywhere, cuddles with me on the couch, keeps me company while I sleep, and no matter what has happened during the day he always greets me with a wagging tail and way too many kisses when I get home.
Tristan’s List (7 years old and in his own words):
I am thankful that I have a great mom and dad. I am thankful for my dog Titan. I am thankful for having friends that help me collect things in the snow. I am thankful for my books and that I can read them!  I am thankful for video games. I am thankful that my mom keeps the house clean and no bugs come in, because I don’t like bugs. I am thankful for my brother who is also my best friend.
Tyler’s List (5 years old and in his own words):
I am thankful for my mommy and daddy. I am thankful for the world. I am thankful for having lots of healthy foods to eat. I am thankful that Tristan is my brother. I am thankful that I have a house and bed to sleep in so I don’t have to sleep on the road. I am thankful for hockey.
Losing Jeff was really hard, but living without his physical presence in our lives has been even harder. There is always going to be a hole in my heart but that doesn’t mean that the positivity of everything else in our lives has to be taken away too. There is always something to be thankful for, no matter what the situation!  Sometimes you just have to force yourself to see it. I am sad that Jeff died, but I am so thankful I got to have him in my life at all.