When I think about this time of year and the opportunity it gives us to reflect on what we are thankful for, my first instinct is to just say “Nothing. My life sucks and there is nothing to be thankful for.” But then I think that is just me wanting to have my “poor me” attitude. The truth is I have much to be thankful for and at the same time I have much to be sorrowful about as well. My heart is broken and I am incredibly sad over losing my Jesse. Yes, even though a year has passed my heart still aches for him and the life that we had and lost. For now, that sorrow overshadows the gratefulness, yet it is good for me to acknowledge that I do have much to be thankful for. First and foremost I am thankful to be healthy. Second, I am thankful to have my job and career. Many of you don’t know this, but I almost lost my job over Jesse’s illness. My FMLA had run out and I could not return to work with him being so ill. The week Jesse died; I was scheduled to lose my budgeted position and to be reclassified as “On-Call”. My great bosses and the good company that I work for decided to hold my position for me until I could return to work last December. Work has been both a blessing and a challenge at the same time. It was good to get back to a routine and be around friends who care about me, but also challenging to work in healthcare and around people who have no idea what a real health tragedy looks like. I am also thankful to have our home. And whatever happens with Jesse’s estate, I will find a way to keep it. The fond memories and the opportunity to garden have kept me going. I am very thankful for my sister, Patti, and the closeness that we share. We are soul sisters and best friends and I have really come to realize during this past year how meaningful our relationship is to me. She is one of the very few who has been consistently there for me during this horrible journey. I am also thankful to have a wonderful therapist who really understands me and keeps gently nudging me to live my life for me; to truly be there for myself and not rely on others for affirmation that I am a good, lovable person. It has always been a challenge for me to value myself outside of others and an even bigger challenge this year as people have faded out of my life and not been there for me during the worst of times. His consistent reminders of my worth and attacks to my core beliefs, which are lies, continues to support me to grow into the person I want to be. I am also thankful to have at least a couple of friends that I can call who will listen to me cry. And I am thankful to have a new friend who has already been there for me in an incredibly big way; like none who have known me for years. I am extremely thankful to have found and connected with other young widows and widowers, both virtually and in person. We are brothers and sisters on this heart-wrenching journey and really can support each other with a deep understanding of this loss. And lastly, I am thankful for Jesse’s dad, Bob or Pops as I call him. I am very thankful that he is living in a retirement community where he is getting the extra help that I cannot provide as this has enriched our relationship so much. Pops has been an inspiration and given my life some meaning and purpose during this past year. I feel grateful and honored to look after this sweet, gentle old man in the twilight of his life.