Like many things in life, I have come to understand that being thankful is a state of mind. We all experience personal daily trials and unhappiness, and then of course there are the tragic ones we share as a nation. I try not to reflect on these but rather choose to be thankful that I have been given another day. God has given me strength through the past three years of my breast cancer battle, while helping me continue to cope with the loss of our eldest son, Paul. This marks the 15th year since his death at age 25.
As one might expect, I feel his loss most deeply holidays, Mother’s Day in particular. Although some days it takes every bit of energy I can muster to face the challenges ahead, I choose to find something positive to reflect upon. I draw on my family, volunteer work, friends and for the fact that I was allowed to have Paul in my life for 25 years. I am reminded at these times of the beauty in life. I’m so grateful that I have another wonderful, healthy son and a precious six-year-old granddaughter along with a cherished and loving husband who gave me the greatest gift of all – a family.
When I’m feeling especially low, I remind myself that although losing my son was a profound pain, I was spared some grief. My son died in a single-vehicle accident; no one died with him. I don’t have my pain compounded by knowing another beautiful soul was lost with him, and another family heartbroken. I also don’t have to deal with the incomprehensible horror so many mothers have of losing their child in a foolish drive-by shooting, a drunk driver or some nut on drugs.
Friends play a very important part in our lives, and I have been blessed with the best. It is true that your real friends will be there during crisis, and mine were there to support me, as well as my son and husband in that dark time following Paul’s accident. Now as my husband is challenged with severe back problems with no real diagnosis, they have stepped forward during this struggle as well.
I am thankful I was blessed with the faith to help me see beyond a particular moment of sadness or fear. By choosing not to allow crisis, challenges or loss steal my happiness of spirit and leave me bitter or hopeless, I am able to cope with whatever life poses for me. Crisis like 9/11, which changed our way of thinking about life and loss (and my airline career), my son’s death, breast cancer and my husband’s health issues, won’t destroy me but continue to remind me of all the love, friendship and purpose I have in my life.
Mostly, I am Loving on Me these days and so glad that I can. Have a blessed day.
Yvonne Crum is a wife, mom, grandmother and retiree from American Airlines after 46 years in the industry starting with Braniff in 1964 and now a dedicated volunteer for many causes. She passionately works on her favorite cause.. Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas. In 2007, she founded Fresh Faces of Fashion to help raise funds for the much needed programs of SCC, Survivors of Suicide and Teens Can Survive. These two programs help so many with life changing thinking and understanding. Her real strength comes from knowing that no matter what obstacles she faces , she has the strength to endure.