Thanksgiving – a little late



Brain cancer is life-changing. For me, a 17-year-old male who has been healthy his entire life, it changes my perspective.

I could have lost consciousness while driving.

I could have slipped into a coma.

I could have just died one day with no clear reason.

But I am still here, and this Thanksgiving Day, I am incredibly thankful for that fact. And this entire experience has shown me all the things I have taken for granted my entire life, and now miss the most.

I am thankful for my previously perfect health.

I am thankful for my excellent 20/15 eyesight, previously unimpaired.

I am thankful for the physical strength that I no longer have.

I am thankful that my pineal gland was apparently useless anyway, because I do not have the sleepless nights that many who lose that organ experience.

I am thankful that, as it turns out, I really don’t need that 25% of my lower left lung.

Also, the bragging rights are a definite plus. Few 17 year olds can say that they have had two brain surgeries and a chest surgery, and I think that is very cool. My collection of the chemical elements now includes the titanium in the back of my skull, and the vial of gadolinium solution that I managed to get from an MRI control room.

Through these months, I have lost so much. But I feel that what I have gained is far more valuable. I have gained wisdom and understanding of other’s struggles, because I know what they are going through. This trial has forced me to count my blessings, and to realize that I am rich in blessings, far beyond what I ever realized.

And I find that this Thanksgiving, the thing that I am most thankful for is the very same thing that has always been my most treasured possession, especially at Thanksgiving.

That is the family who loves me.

Thanksgiving is the holiday I look forward to more than any other. I love Christmas, I love birthdays, but Thanksgiving is the one day of the year that all of us come together to celebrate what we have: each other. I never think on the drive, “Oh God, I hope so-and-so isn’t there,” or “Maybe if I pretend they don’t exist, they will just leave me alone.” I love my family, and I know that they love me too.

The fact that I could not be with the rest of you this year was painful. I have spent every Thanksgiving of my life with you all, and I desperately wanted to be there this year.

But I am very happy because I spent this Thanksgiving with my parents and siblings, and this year, I am most thankful of all for them, and the wonderful memories I have of them.

I am thankful for my father, who works hard to provide for his family, and who wishes he could take my burden from me.

For my mother, who juggles the logistics of shopping and cooking in shared kitchens so that her 17-year-old baby boy can eat healthy food while he is ill.

For my brother Lincoln, who has quickly been given more responsibility than any 15-year-old should have, and has risen to the challenge admirably.

For my sister Rachel, who loves all things flamingo and is so tender-hearted that she cries for the dead butterfly that she finds, and then preserves its beauty in a bookmark.

And for my youngest sister Prairie, the horse fanatic, who sends me jokes in my email and includes a detailed explanation to make sure that I “get it.”

I am thankful for my family. Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for loving me.

I love all of you.

9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving – a little late

  1. Sidney, we missed all of you very much. You were in our prayers. Next year we will all get together. And there will be a few additions!
    Grandma Sandy

  2. Sidney, yes you have lost a lot but have gained a lot; as you stated. And only you know the true depth of that loss and gain. When we spoke on Tuesday I could hear something in your voice I haven’t heard before. I couldn’t quite fathom the quality of what I heard. You have always been mature but I felt there was an added depth of maturity and understanding. I wasn’t sure what I was hearing or maybe felt. But with this post I now feel an affirmation of my perception. You are truly and deeply loved by all of us, your family. Love, Aunt BreeBree

  3. Thank you for the post and also Brenda for her reply – Sidney, you don.t know me – I am Murray’s stepmother – Brenda told me of you and you are on my prayer list – I am so proud of your attitude – I personally am a 35 year survivor of Stage 3 Colon Cancer -so I can appreciate your feelings – stay strong – you are a fine young man – Blessings – Valerie Austin Gray

  4. Sidney,
    Thank you so much for reminding us all the True Meaning of Thanksgiving! You are such an AMAZING young man! Just want you to know Jeff and I are praying for you and your family every day!!!
    Please keep posting I enjoy reading your inspiring words!!!
    Blessings, Tammy

  5. Sidney, We missed you so very much at Thankgiving. Thanks for sharing your journey and your wisdom. Your soul is Evergreen!
    Love, Aunt Laura

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.