Dr. Debra’s Thanksgiving Holiday Greeting

I believe gratitude doesn’t come in the front door all dressed up and bearing Thanksgiving pies; rather, it slips in through the kitchen door like the plumber did when the pipes were clogged just after my cat dropped his prized catch—a mouse—there. Forget what you’ve heard about not missing your water until the well runs dry. You never know what gratitude the sound of a flushing toilet can bring until you’ve seen one overflow three times in a week.

My point is that gratitude is not the same as giving thanks. It comes from a deeper place that knows the story could have ended differently, and often does.

Gratitude is surviving the worst thing you can imagine (For now! Trust me, there will be another calamity at some point, one so awful you’d trade it in a heartbeat for sewage seeping onto the carpet.) and realizing that you are still standing.

The last ten years have been a roller coaster. Sometimes, I didn’t think I would survive the ups and downs financially, personally and professionally—the uncertainty, the stress and the fear of what would happen next. I’ve always loved the fact that I come from a large family of nine kids, and we all get along pretty well! These last ten years have also brought home the harsh reality that we’re getting older and facing illness and death. It’s hard losing two brothers and our mother all in the span of a few years, and it’s not over!

I speak of these losses, not for sympathy, but for how a sense of gratitude has grown and blossomed. I am so grateful to have my family and am forever grateful for the community of friends that’s developed, particularly over the last five years, as I’ve stepped out and taken bold steps to be in the moment, breathe through the moment, and visualize a life of happiness.

So, this Thanksgiving, like every Thanksgiving, of course, I will give thanks for all my blessings, which no doubt are the same things you are grateful for—family, friends, food—but I will do so knowing that the people I love won’t be at the table forever. I will be so grateful for who is still here, and with any luck at all, that will give me the courage to stand strong and be there in support of them.

Holidays are wonderful celebrations yet can also bring about a great deal of stress. Simply getting together with family for that traditional meal can be a deal breaker for many. Listen to a couple of key tips in the video to help get through this holiday season.

Love and blessings,


I want to give particular thanks to Rekhaa Gopinath for her thoughts and contributions to this special holiday message.

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

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