What I’m MOST thankful for is this one single moment…
Thanksgiving is here! A day for us to pause, reflect, and be thankful for our blessings.
I’m thankful for a lot of people and things in my life, but this year what I’m MOST thankful for is a conversation that happened three years ago…
It was just before Thanksgiving and I was sitting in a room with 100+ people attending a self-development course called the Landmark Forum in Alexandria, Virginia (yep, the same Alexandria as in the Walking Dead!).
The course leader says to us, “During this break, get a hold of your parents and say what you need to say to be complete with them.”
Complete, as in nothing left unsaid.
For some people, this wasn’t a big deal.
But for me, it brought up a lot of anxiety.
You see, my dad and I had a good relationship but we never talked about feelings. And we definitely did not exchange I love yous.
It was assumed but never said out loud, so I knew that was what I needed to tell my dad to get complete with him.
My heart pounded as I dialed his number, unsure of how to express my love and gratitude.
When he picked up, I poured my heart out. I told him what an amazing job he did raising us and how much I appreciated and loved him.
After a few seconds of silence, he responded with a simple “It’s OK. It’s my job.” before quickly hanging up.
It was uncomfortable for the both of us, but I knew that he got the message because after that day, he began opening up to me.
He started calling me out of the blue to chat and see how I was doing. He started sharing stories of his younger days. Something he rarely did before.
That one conversation to get complete opened a whole new world for us.
Two and a half years after that conversation – Valentine’s Day of this year - my dad was unexpectedly rushed to the hospital.
His undiagnosed pneumonia was so severe and his breathing was so constrained that they immediately put a tube down his throat and hooked him up to a breathing machine.
From that day to his passing 10 weeks later, he never got to speak again, and I never got to have another conversation with him.
This will be my first year celebrating the holidays without my dad and while I’m sad that he’s no longer physically here, one thing I’m not feeling is regret.
Given our family dynamics and traditional Chinese culture, sharing my gratitude wasn’t something I would’ve ever done if I hadn’t been in the course.
But because I was and because of that completion assignment, I said what I wanted to say when we still had plenty of time together.
And for that, I’m so thankful.
This Thanksgiving, I invite you to reach out to a loved one, whether it be your parents, sibling, other family member or friends, and have a conversation to be complete with them.
It’s the best gift you can give yourself and anyone you love this holiday season, and it doesn’t cost a thing. In return, you’ll get freedom, peace and connection that you may not have thought was possible.
I'd love to hear about your experience after completing with someone. Share with me by leaving a comment below.
Wishing you love, laughter and connection this Thanksgiving!
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