Family Support Story

Being Thankful Despite the Heartache

In 2017, my daughter Laura was in Atlanta for Thanksgiving, but we were at our house in Florida. If I had known that she would be dead before Christmas from a drug overdose, I would have kidnapped her, taken her to Florida, and held her tight until the immediate danger had passed. All around me, I see Facebook posts, TV ads, and messages from people expressing what they are thankful for this season, but for me, it’s been a little harder to have that perspective. What I’m thankful for has now changed. Here is how this Thanksgiving looks through my lens.

Finding Thankfulness

I am thankful for being able to have pain and purpose co-exist.
Losing a child is the deepest pain anyone can experience and if that pain is not viewed in the right way, it can overwhelm you, ruin your life, and prevent you from moving forward. But out of that pain, has come purpose. The pain of Laura’s death has motivated me to action and lead me to create an educational initiative to focus on parents, educators and children and teach them about the risks of the disease of addiction so everyone can understand their roles in preventing it.

I am thankful for being resilient.
I have always realized that a number of people depend on me to be present. I run a company, have employees, have customers and have a family that needs me to function. It was hard, but two weeks after Laura died, I went back to work, began writing articles about the lessons I learned from Laura’s life and focused on how to help others. I’m thankful I was gifted with resilience so I could do all of those things instead of crawling into a hole.

I am thankful I can celebrate the living
My son got engaged this year, so I have a wedding to look forward to. My husband has been just the right partner to get me through tough times. I have friends who check in on me and express love for my family and for Laura. My co-workers have been by my side for years and know how to move the ball forward whether I’m there are not. I’m thankful for everyone that is still here.

I am thankful that I know Laura is at peace.
I once heard from someone in recovery that if they had to spend one more day tortured by the pain of being addicted, they would rather not be here. Laura was tortured, unhappy, in constant struggle and without purpose. Now those struggles are over and she’s at peace. I’m thankful that she’s with her father, grandfather and with God and take comfort that her struggles are behind her.

My Takeaway

You could be having what you think is the worst year of your life as I did in 2018, but despite that, there is always something to be thankful for. Sit back, reflect, and consider that sometimes things that you think have happened to you have actually happened for you. Pain and purpose can co-exist and I’m thankful for having the perspective to understand that.

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