November reminds me of Thanksgiving and all the things I am thankful for. Well, I like to put a twist on that. I like to find the things in each day that I’m thankful for. Somedays it is super easy to find all kinds of things. The days I find it hard are the days I’m in the dippy does and want to sit in front of the TV with a gallon of my favorite ice cream and wallo in poor me. Those are the days I have to really dig to find the one good thing. It might be something simple like the sun is out, or I have a home or there is food in my fridge – simple things. Many times it’s the most obvious things that we don’t realize we have.

When my kids were little I would always say no matter how hard you think you have it, someone has it worse. They would look at me and roll their eyes or give me some crazy mom look. But I would tell them, “You can always find something small in each day no matter how bad it is, to be thankful for.”

One year, I remember making a “Thankful Tree.” My oldest son’s birthday is November 20, so we decided to get the whole family involved. We found a branch, brought it inside, put it into a flower pot and filled it full of gravel. Then as our guests came to his birthday party, we asked them if they would fill out a leaf with what they were thankful for and put it on our tree. It was a great visual to show the kids how the tree grew and what people where thankful for.

Just like anyone I struggle some days. I’m not perfect. After my son’s accident I thought, “What now?”

But then I remembered what I told my kids when they were little. No matter how hard you think you have it, someone has it worse. So true! So I continued to look for the small things each day that I was thankful for.

The days after Tyler’s accident it was things like: I’m thankful for 15 years with Tyler, my family and friends. Very simple but things I found even in the toughest of times.

You may be thinking, “I have nothing to be thankful for. I’m going through a loss or a hard time.”

I would suggest sitting down and just writing things on paper that are very simple everyday things. Once you get your list going you will be so surprised and it will become an easy daily ritual.

I noticed during those days, weeks and months after Tyler’s accident, it was hard to be thankful. But as I kept making myself do it, it got easier. It also made me feel better and it reminded me it’s not about poor me. It’s about how I can help someone else through what I have gone through. It’s about showing them how they can find the one small thing in each day to be thankful for no matter how bad it is.

I want to end with a poem that reminds me of being thankful.

Be kind

Be thoughtful

Be genuine

But most of all

Be Thankful

Author Unknown

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Missy Hillmer

Missy Hillmer is a writer, photographer, wife, mother, creative lady whose mind is constantly on the go. She loves coffee, dark chocolate especially with nuts, music soothes her soul and being outside in the sun recharges her body. She has an angel in Heaven. Her faith is what gets her through each day. Since her son Tyler’s accident she is passionate about telling her story with the hope that it will help or inspire at least one person who has lost a child.

Growing Slowly around the Grief of Losing Your Mom

In: Grief, Loss
Sad woman sitting on couch with folded arms

Everyone has heard about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Society often assumes the stages of grief happen in order, but those who encounter grief know that’s not true. Undergoing grief can feel like riding a rollercoaster blindfolded—disorienting and chaotic. There are numerous ups, downs, and twists you wouldn’t anticipate. Grief is like an ocean. When waves come crashing, it feels like you’re being swept away. Regardless of their size, waves are always rough. Despite everything, you also get pushed forward to the shore after every wave. Sometimes, you may feel like you are drowning...

Keep Reading

The Shattering Grief of Suicide

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Sad person sitting in darkened hallway, black and white image

Navigating through my second Christmas without my dad, the weight of grief seemed even heavier this year. In fact, everything felt and looked different to me. As I unwrapped the ornaments and cards he gave me over the years, a tidal wave of madness and sadness engulfed me. I know many feel sadness and grieve during these times, but let me just say . . . suicide is a different type of grief. My vibrant, happy, physically fit dad committed suicide on April 30th, 2022. There, I said it. In the aftermath, a myriad of emotions consumed me. One perplexing...

Keep Reading

Dear Dad, Maybe You’re the Bird

In: Grief, Loss
Young girl sitting on father's lap, older color photo

Maybe you’re the bird. The one I see outside my door. The one who flies so low it seems you’re somehow weighted down. Like you’re carrying more than just yourself. Like you’re carrying a message. Just for me. Maybe you’re the rain. The sound I hear that reminds me so much of home. Of you. Of driving in your car as a little girl when you looked over and asked my opinion about everything. When you made someone so small feel so very big. RELATED: Dad Left a Legacy in Fried Green Tomatoes Maybe you’re the butterfly. The one I...

Keep Reading

I Hope You Never Know What it’s Like to Forget Who You Are

In: Grief, Living, Loss
Woman staring at camera, black-and-white photo

I write best when I’m passionate. It’s always been my release. But lately, I’ve struggled to write. I’ve struggled to find purpose in my words. It’s all been twisted and choppy, not a bit poetic or beautiful. These feelings are what the struggles of loss, parenting, work, and marriage push against. It’s finding yourself over and over again and trying to make sense of the senseless. It leaves you questioning most things and leaves you feeling broken with no idea how to put yourself or others back together. I hope you never know. I hope you never know what it’s...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Know How to Live Without My Sister, But I Must

In: Grief
Sisters smiling in posed color photo

I’ve spent a year of my life living in a haze. Holding my breath, afraid to exhale. Focusing on staying in this frozen moment where there is no reality. I pressed the pause button. Pumped the brakes. I’ll stay right here and wait for my life, life as I knew it, life as I loved it, to come back around. Where there is no future to mourn, thinking about the way it should have been and no torturous past to remember, recalling the horror of that day. The special occasions that will come are now outlined in sadness. Wait, she’s...

Keep Reading

6 Ways to Be a Friend to Someone Grieving

In: Friendship, Grief, Loss
Friends hugging

Grief can truly be such a lonely experience after you lose a loved one. The loneliness isn’t necessarily because you don’t have anyone around you. It’s because only you had your relationship with the person who died, and it’s hard to find anyone to replace that. I have first-hand experience. My mom died recently and unexpectedly at the age of 62 and I at the age of 34, and it single-handedly has been one of the most painful experiences of my life. However, having support from family and friends will help you navigate this difficult time. Without it, the loneliness...

Keep Reading

These Final Gifts from My Mom Are Hard to Let Go

In: Grief, Loss
Little girls boots with worn toes, color photo

My daughter wobbled toward me in silver, square-toed go-go boots, one heel dislodged and flopping against our hallway’s faux wood floor. On her opposite foot, a striped sock peaked curiously through the growing toe hole. “Mama,” she said. Her tiny voice raised another octave, “My shoe!” I sighed, then sat on the floor. Waves of grief washed over me as I contemplated what kind of glue might capably reconstruct the shoe’s sole. Elmer’s glue? Textile glue? Maybe Krazy Glue? I knew the boots should just go into the bin. And yet, they—along with a vibrant, overbearing cat dress that would...

Keep Reading

A Daughter Is Never Ready To Let Her Dad Go

In: Grief, Loss
Grown daughter hugging older man

I wasn’t ready to let you go. When I was a little girl, one of my greatest fears was that something would happen to my parents. If they had to go somewhere, I would nervously follow their route in my mind, mentally noting where they probably were and when they should be back home. If they hadn’t returned by the time I thought they should, my imagination would get the best of me as I pictured a thousand things that could have happened. But the day I sat having a late breakfast at my kitchen table and saw an ambulance...

Keep Reading

Memories of Mom Are Everywhere

In: Grief, Motherhood
Family campsite with bikes, tents, and totes, color photo

Two weeks after my daughter was born, my dad drove from Pennsylvania to our home in Florida to stay with me for the week. I was nursing my daughter on the couch when my dad drug in four humongous plastic storage bins and staged them next to the Pack ‘N Play in the living room. The bins were full of my baby clothes, baby shower cards, a silver spoon, plastic and probably lead-infused rattles, and two cellophane balloons neatly folded. A time capsule of my babyhood. I thought of my mom’s hands being the last to touch these items. Had...

Keep Reading

Don’t Forget the Heartbroken Mothers

In: Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman sad sitting on couch

The loss I recently experienced hit differently than others I’ve experienced. I thought that with three kids already in tow, it wouldn’t ache quite this bad. But it has. I don’t know if it’s because I was further along or because my entire household was over-the-top giddy and excited for this precious new life to enter the world. Perhaps it was the trauma of how everything happened or because I actually gave birth to him and held him. RELATED: We Lost Our Baby at 17 Weeks Pregnant Attending my first appointment to confirm the loss was brutal. I was surrounded...

Keep Reading