Ironically, my favorite Thanksgiving celebration took place a few weeks before my craniotomy. I didn’t know it then but this was to be the last time my dad and all three of his ex-wives (each of whom played a significant role in my life) were together. Sadly, my dad had a stroke in January of 2015, just as I was returning home from acute rehabilitation. He is in a nursing home and is non-ambulatory. I will forever be thankful for ex-wife #2 (Kathy a.k.a. Nana) and her husband (Craig a.k.a Gamps) for hosting Thanksgiving at our house in 2014 and including all of our family members that live in the area.
[Facebook Post 11/26/2015]
Last Thanksgiving, I learned the true meaning of family. It was a few weeks after I had returned home from a weeklong stay in our local hospital following the presenting seizure that led to my brain tumor diagnosis. I was waiting for my craniotomy (which thanks to Luis’ research and perseverance) was about to take place at UCLA on December 9th.
Kathy (a.k.a Nana, my dad’s second ex-wife) was already staying with us to help with Noé. She and her husband, Craig (a.k.a Gamps) decided to host Thanksgiving dinner at our house. My dad, my brother, my mom, my Aunt Mickie, my cousin Jacquie, Pat (my dad’s third ex-wife) and her mom–all reunited under our roof to be with Luis, Noé and me.
Although I was just a few weeks away from having brain surgery, I wasn’t afraid because I knew and trusted that I was in good hands. Given the fact that I had experienced a grand mal seizure while Noé and I were reading together in his bed–that it struck so suddenly, I thought I was going to die–and that I temporarily lost the ability to speak; last Thanksgiving I was not only grateful to be alive but also thankful for my second chance to live.
In many ways this last year has been the best year of my life as I have learned valuable lessons about how precious life truly is, I have reconnected with people who made a difference in my life and I have had the chance to consistently express my love and gratitude.
Each day is a blessing.
P.S. I’m so grateful for these photos especially the one above of my dad. This is how I always want to remember him.