Thankful this holiday season

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jenny walsh


Have you ever gone to the mall and just gone on auto-pilot? Not thinking about what you may be spending money on because maybe it was payday or you just got money for your birthday? I know I have! Have you ever not said goodbye to someone you love when they go on a trip because you forgot? I know I have! Have you ever regretted not getting to spend five more minutes with a love one before they pass? I know I have…

There have been so many instances this year where I have been thankful and now is a great time to reflect on all those moments and realize how truly blessed I am.

This year was extremely difficult for my family. We lost the patriarch of the family, my 95 year-old grandfather. I never thought the day would come, but sadly it did. This is the first holiday season I have to go through without him being here at all. I was heart-broken, as was the entire family. I didn’t think I would still be having a hard time with this loss, however there are good day and bad days. I try and think back to all of the wonderful memories I have of him. To
put it simply: he was an amazing man and a great role model.

So what do I do to get through all the bad days? I try and focus on positive memories, give back, and live the life he wanted me to.
Memories.

There are so many wonderful memories I have. I hope one day that I will be able to do some of the things we did, with my own grandkids. On Saturday mornings when I was little, we would go to Sam’s Club and eat our way through the free samples (is it a crime to get that much free food?!). He and my Grandmother would try to make all of the events the grandkids had going on-if it was a dance recital, band concert, or even football games!

One of my most treasured memories with him was a few years back when we went to go see the Yogi Bear movie that came out (“Hey, Hey, Boo-Boo!”). Before the movie started, we were just making small talk, enjoying the previews, and then came the moment where I was able to ask him about his time in World War II. I was extremely nervous to ask him questions about it because he really didn’t talk about that time period too much. I was surprised that he didn’t hold anything back from me. He told me a few stories, and about when his ship, the USS Lexington CV-2, sank. I don’t think I had ever felt closer to him than at that point in time. I am so fortunate to have had those experiences with him, and can pass those stories along to my kids when the day comes.

Giving back.

They say what goes around comes around. I am a firm believer in that, however the point of giving back is not to get “what’s coming back around”. The point is GIVING. Whenever you get the chance, take that extra five dollars you have in your pocket and donate it to a cause you’re passionate about, buy a meal for a homeless person, just put it towards something great. YOU have the power to change someone’s life. Isn’t that better than using that to buy a drink from Starbucks or something material you’ll forget about in 5 minutes?

I had the opportunity to give back to someone, and didn’t think twice about it. Sure, I am not the smartest with my money (who really is at 20 years old?), I may travel every chance I get, and I may try and buy things that aren’t in my budget, but it’s moments like these that reground me. This is something my Grandfather did. I always remember getting donations from my Grandparents for the Girl Scout troop I was in years ago, American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, buying chocolate bars to help support dance or band…you name it, they gave back to me (they did this for all of the grandkids too). I am truly blessed. So now, I try and give back as much as I can.


Living the life he would want me to live.

My Grandfather was a big supporter of my dreams. For those of you who know me, know I am the most indecisive person in the world. I am constantly changing my mind on what I want to do, where to travel to next. When I do figure out what I want to do, I apply myself though. He (along with all of the adults in my family) always taught us kids to go for our dreams, and to NEVER GIVE UP. Now that I am one of the adults in my family (ew, I’m old now), I am trying so hard to decide which career path to take. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but I know I am supposed to interact with others, and leave positivity in their lives. As I make my way through this little journey called life, I know he would have wanted me to spread as much joy as possible (or as radio host Bobby Bones calls it #PimpinJoy). So, as each day passes, that’s what I try to do. It can be something as simple as smiling and saying, “Hello” to a stranger, or teaching something new to the five-year old I nanny. Remember: You never know how something simple may touch someone’s life.

Anyways, so getting back to being thankful, I guess you can say that I am above and beyond blessed for having such an amazing man in life the past twenty years and I will miss him so much. I am also extremely thankful for having such wonderful parents, an awesome older brother, and an amazing Grandmother (his wife), along with my other amazing Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, and amazing friends. So remember, this holiday season, if it’s the first one you have to go through without a loved one that you are STRONG and can make it through. Just try and reflect on the fond memories, tell your loved ones how much you love them, and do any little thing you can to make someone else have a wonderful holiday….spread the JOY!

Happy holidays!

Jenny

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