Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

November 23, 2011

What If We Were Thankful?

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 3:03 am

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?   Cooking at home?   Going to friends’ or relatives?   Are you going to watch the Lions play the Packers?  Go to the Thanksgiving Day Parade or watch it on TV?  Get ready for Black Friday shopping?  Pour through the newspaper and all the store advertisements?

Are you going to wear your stretchy pants?   Take that second helping of stuffing?  Save room for the pumpkin pie? 

Are you going to burn those biscuit bottoms again?   How ’bout those potatoes?   Lumpy?   Are you going to nail the turkey this time or is it going to be dry again?  Are you going with the canned cranberry gel or the real cranberries?

What are YOU doing this Thursday?  

Are you going to dread seeing your relatives?  Dread spending time with the parents?  Are you going to wish you were somewhere else or with someone else?   Maybe sit and slouch and pout in the corner and text all day?

Are you going to hate having to cook and clean up for fifteen unappreciative guests who come early and fall asleep on your couch late?  Are you going to pretend to get along with your spouse so that nobody knows you are divorcing?   Are you going to privately resent going to his side of the family or her side of the family because their stuffing is god-awful…

What are YOU doing this Thursday?  What are you choosing to do this Thanksgiving?

Are you going to hate?  Bitch?  Criticize?  Lament?  Dread?  Rage?  Lose your patience?  Fail to appreciate? 

What are YOU going to do this holiday?  How are YOU going to recognize this holiday of Thanksgiving?

I know what some people will be doing this Thanksgiving. 

This Thursday eleven people are going to die from asthma.   Fifteen hundred will die of cancer while another 3400 will be diagnosed.

This Thanksgiving more than five thousand people will suffer a head injury, more than fourteen hundred will suffer a sexual assault and twenty-one thousand sets of parents will lose a child.
On Thursday almost eight hundred people will find out they have Alzheimer’s and
30 people will be diagnosed with MS.    Forty-five  people will be murdered on Thanksgiving and more than three thousand will die in a car crash.
This Thursday more than 10 thousand people will lose their jobs.   Thirty-six thousand people in Detroit alone will be homeless. 
This Thanksgiving 850 million people will go to bed hungry.
What are you going to do this Thanksgiving?   What are WE going to do? 
What if we were thankful?  Genuinely, humbly, simply thankful…


  1. Thank You for the perspective and the challenge. Post TBI has left me with severe anxiety and fear of large gatherings(even family). BUt I am gonna try to do my best and enjoy my family. I know it will be hard – but you just made my resolve that much stronger. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Comment by robcomish — November 23, 2011 @ 4:01 am | Reply

    • Hey Rob: There is a difference between choosing not to be grateful and being unable to handle the crowds and clatter because of brain injury symptoms. Be kind to yourself. If you know that the large group will cause fear and anxiety, that’s half the battle and it’s awesome you are aware of that. Maybe you can go in two cars and not stay for the entire day? Or arrange to go have some quiet time when things get to be too much and let them know beforehand what you are doing so no one takes it personally? Holidays for the brain injured can be soooo overwhelming. Most of us have a hard time handling them. but you can enjoy them and be grateful and still only stay for an hour, if that’s all you can handle. There’s nothing wrong with that. Take care of YOU. Do what you need to feel sane and calm and happy. I wish you good luck tomorrow. Let me know how it goes, OK? I’m rooting for you. Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — November 23, 2011 @ 1:06 pm | Reply

      • Hi Kara – Hope this note finds you well. I had a really good Thanksgiving, thanks in no small part to your advice, which really helped my mind stop spinning in a negative direction. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving.
        Merry Christmas!!

        Comment by robcomish — December 1, 2011 @ 11:52 pm

  2. This year my kids will all be at the other families homes @ the in-laws. I am fortunate, that the in-laws are not ‘out-laws’ and I don’t mind. It isn’t a bad thing for me, that my hubs and I will be on our own this year… We will make the best of it and be thankful for the loving families our kids have built. I am thankful for many things this year…how to choose?
    I am thankful for new medications which keep seizures away but don’t give me a bad mood–very very thankful for that!
    I am grateful for a new neurologist who lives in my new tiny town!
    I am grateful for friends who love me. Family who loves me. Animals who I no longer am able to see every day, but who are happy and thriving in new homes.
    I am grateful for our new home. A warm and loving home.
    I am grateful for another year with family members who I may not see, but are still here!
    So many other things.

    I am grateful for you, Kara. You bring a bright spot to all my days, and I am so happy you are in my life.

    Comment by Barb — November 23, 2011 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

  3. Barb: Thank you for your kind words to me and for sharing with all of us what you are thankful for. That makes me smile. I loved the one about being thankful that your kids have built loving extended families. Instead of being jealous and angry, you have CHOSEN to see it in a good light. I love that about you. Same with the animals…You have a loving spirit and I salute you for that. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving.

    Comment by karaswanson — November 23, 2011 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  4. Yes, you make even the most negative person guilty…….lol I’m going to a friends where they appreciate life and are very open. Happy Thanksgiving Kara!

    Comment by Mike Altman — November 23, 2011 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

    • Great to hear from you, Mike. You make me laugh. Have a great holiday.

      Comment by karaswanson — November 24, 2011 @ 1:07 am | Reply

  5. Commenting for a stupid checkbox that I shoud’ve seen and checked the first time……lol

    Comment by Mike Altman — November 23, 2011 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

  6. You nailed it again! Love your blog.

    Comment by Diane — November 23, 2011 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

    • Thanks, Diane. You are kind to me. Hope you have a great holiday!!

      Comment by karaswanson — November 24, 2011 @ 1:08 am | Reply

  7. I absolutlely love this! Thank you for reminding us to truely be thankful.

    Comment by Melissa — November 23, 2011 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

    • Hey, Melissa! thanks for writing. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Have a great Thanksgiving!!

      Comment by karaswanson — November 24, 2011 @ 1:09 am | Reply

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