Story Submitted by Barry P. Silber
My Gratitude –
When I think of gratitude as I approach my 69th year on this planet, I am struck by the words of the late, great actor and war hero, Harold Russell. Mr. Russell, who lost both arms in World War 2, went on to the win Best Supporting Actor for his role as a disabled veteran in the film, “The Best Years of Our Lives”. He said, “it’s not what you have lost, but what you have left, and what you do with it”. The message is straightforward but inspirational. When I think of my advancing age, I think of the friends and family that I have lost. However, what is not lost, or you could say what I have left, are the memories and how these loved ones impacted my life. Of course, I also have friends and family who are with me and continue to enrich my existence. So, what have I done with the memories of loved ones that have passed away? I celebrate them, just as I celebrate those who thankfully, are still in my life. Recently, I suffered a loss of a different kind: my daughter, son-in-law, and our two young grandchildren moved 1,200 miles away. At first, I was overwhelmed with feelings of grief, despite knowing rationally that this move would improve their lives. I also knew that there would be trips up north, and frequent FaceTiming. However, I realized that I had to do something else not only to deal with my sadness but to make these family members understand their importance in my life. So, I created, wrote, and published a Children’s Book, Zayde and Me, which emphasized my special relationship with my Grandson, Richard. I guess the expression of gratitude can take many forms. With the ongoing pandemic, Thanksgiving just won’t be the same for many families. Yes, it will be just my wife, Muffie, and me this year, but with a planned Zoom session to our extended family. Challenging times call for innovative solutions. With our tradition of beginning dinner with a statement of what we are thankful for, this year I will thank Mr. Russell for his quote, which guides me every day.