During Thanksgiving the family spends lots of effort and time preparing that perfect meal. It is a joyous time of the year. A time we should be thankful. Then, I got to thinking about what do I have to be thankful about this year. I had a year of changes and tragedy that has forever changed my life. Out of all the brainstorming that I was doing for my next article, this thought was blocking my concentration. So I tell you what I think, and how I feel.

It all started with my ex-boyfriend trying to make me sell a house that he had invested no money in, and I mean no money in. Me and my sons lived there for the past 10 years. He was there for only 6 months, no money down, no insurance, he never paid anything. I worked 2 jobs for the past 15 years and I was putting my last son through college when everything started changing.

If dealing with that expense wasn't enough, my grandmother passed away after Christmas. This wasn't just your typical grandmother experience, this woman had raised me throughout my teenage years. She had Alzheimer's. Everyone of her brother and sisters except of one, and her parents had also passed away with this sad disease. What a sad loss, coupled with the reminder of what the future probably has in store for me. It makes you question every little thing you forget. I watch my mother for any signs of this disease constantly.

Shortly after all of this, and while trying to pay for my sons college, trying to pay for an attorney to fight for my home, and trying to keep everything together, I walked away from my house. The idiot that fought so hard to make me sell and split the money with him was no where to be found. I walked away from 6 acres of land and a home and threw up my hands to it all, and said take it, for someone who never had the credit or money to afford it in the first place. I move to NC to be with my fiancé who had been waiting on me to arrive for the past 4 years. I was trying to get my youngest son through college and land a new job here before I joined him.

Six months later, my oldest brother took his life. Didn't see that coming. Words can't describe what you have lost when you lose someone so close to you. There are a lot of whys and a big fat hole in your heart that can't be filled. The dread of the first of the many holidays without him or grandma being in it. The idea of looking at my mother, and to know what she has lost and what she has been through is beyond words. You see my brother shot himself outside of my mothers home and she was inside at the time. She held her firstborn in her arms until he passed.

No grandmother, no brother, no home, no job, so what do I have to be thankful for this year? I thank God I got to spend those years with my grandmother, more time than most people get. I praise God that my brother left us with our soon to be 6 year old unexpected niece, who my mother is now raising. I am completely appreciating the old saying that what goes around, come around, as I hear my ex got sued for the rest of the mortgage on the house after it auctioned because of yet, I am still unemployed. I am happy to be in a new place, and feel at home with the first time ever scenario of no bills. I think I deserve this break without a job, but I miss working in the hospital, and I am sure I will have one soon. Most of all this holiday season, I am thankful that I do still believe in the Lord. This all has been a hard pill to swallow, and without him I think I would be broken. My children are healthy, happy, and alive. What more else do I possibly need.

So this holiday season, when your sitting in front of the Thanksgiving turkey bowing your head in prayer, look up for just a minute at the people that are sitting with you, and be thankful that they are there.