Give Thanks in All Circumstances.

Here we are again, another Holiday season, or as I now call it “The Holi-Daze”. I am trying to “chipper up” but I feel so blah. Tis the season to be jolly blaaah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Someone said that the 3rd year is one of the toughest. I guess because the shock of the 1st year is gone, the trying to pretend of the 2nd year is over, and now it is straight-up REALITY. Where to go from here? I am not sure.

I guess we will do what we have done for the past Thanksgivings since Tommy has been gone. We will help serve the community a Thanksgiving meal at a local church, and then visit Tommy’s memorial bricks. I enjoy serving the community. It makes me feel like my life has some purpose and meaning. These people are so grateful too. So unlike many, myself included, who at times feel entitled to not only large meals but everything in life. Could you imagine if all of us were stripped of everything and then handed a few things at a time. How grateful we would all be, huh? I guess that is how the people in our community feel when they are served a hot meal on Thanksgiving….they feel so grateful.  Many of them have had some very tough years, have lost hope, and feel like giving up. I have been there before; felt the feeling of wanting to give up on life, filled with hopelessness. I am sure many, if not all of us, have at one time or another. The power that a kind gesture can have on a person is quite amazing. It can make all the difference in someone’s life.

If you are reading this and feel so inclined, please take a moment to give thanks for what you have, even if it is not everything you wish it to be. Give Thanks for the children in your life. Give Thanks for the family and friends that you have (on Earth and in Heaven). Give Thanks for warm meals and places to rest your head. Give Thanks for All Things. It is amazing how much a grateful heart can help  a person. I started this feeling broken, but I am ending it a little less broken (if that makes any sense). We have been invited to spend our Thanksgiving evening at a friend’s house. I am grateful to have friends that want to share this day with us.
November 2008
I have a poster size version of this picture in my bedroom. It was taken in November 2008. This was Tommy’s last Grandparents Day/Thanksgiving Feast at his school. I was not supposed to be with Tommy on this day that year. Grandma Carolyn, Tom, and I used to switch off every year between the three kids we had at Reeds Creek School. It was Grandma Carolyn’s year to be with Tommy, but we decided since it was Katrina’s last year at RC (8th grade) Grandma should go to her classroom. I happened to have both the camera and the camcorder. I was going to give one to Tom when he showed up to be with Brittany, but he was running late because of work so the celebration began and I just kept both devices. grateful I am.

Tommy was chosen to be the narrator for the Thanksgiving play in his classroom. I was not only able see it but record it as well! He did so well. Mrs. Cooper (the super pooper scooper, as the kids called her:) came up to me after the play and said that when she auditioned the kids for the part of narrator Tommy blew her away. She said he was such an articulate speaker.  She said she had been worried about filling the part until she heard him read. Another great moment as Tommy’s mom.

He made the black vest he was wearing out of paper. He was very proud of his part in the play. He was such a gentleman at the feast. A very good day indeed. I can’t watch the video yet (hurts), but I am grateful to know that I have it. I am grateful to have this incredible picture with my son. I am so grateful to have this memory of our last Grandparents Day/Thanksgiving School Celebration.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving and remember to Give Thanks.

6 Responses to “Give Thanks in All Circumstances.”

  1. Brittany (sissy) says:

    i know how my mom feels. i have been feeling so bad the past days and it hurts so bad. i have been breaking down in the middle of my days for no reason. trying not to cry is the hardest thing to do when it hurts and i just try to keep my head held high. when you lose someone you love it might be the hardest thing in the world but it will make you stronger

  2. Mommy says:

    It has been a very hard time. You are so right Britt. I think we have become pro’s at not crying when we hurt. Only makes us stronger, right? blah blah blah. We have learned so well in the last few years to “suck it up” and put on our “game face”. Go out into the world and show’em what we are made of and who it is that made us. Being strong has been our motto, huh? Smile and Wave, right? We live our life not showing our true feelings. God forbid we let “them” see we feel defeated, deflated, and totally devastated. It is time to stop being strong for the world watching. I saw a verse today that spoke to me.
    “I will give you a new heart and a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh”
    It is time to not be made of stone. It is okay to not have our game face on. It is okay to hurt, Britt. I have always said “We hurt so badly because we loved so deeply.” Nothing has changed. We loved. We miss. We hurt. We are not stone. I am glad we have been given a heart of flesh. This heart can be hurt and it can hurt for others. You and your sister are the most caring girls I have ever known. You girls are so “in-tune” with the sufferings of the heart. This is a hard lesson that is learned by those that have suffered extreme pain and loss. All I have left to say is…. remember, one by one. You know what I mean, my love. “Press toward the mark.” ;)

  3. Daddy says:

    I am thankful for all the great memories. I am thankful for all the pictures taken over the years. I am thankful of the videos we took. I just wish when I turn around, you would be there. I will always miss you Tommy and yes it will never be the same with out you. Love Daddy

  4. K says:

    Dear Botell Family,
    You do not know me, and to be perfectly honest I had not heard of your story, or Tommy until today. I was 18 in 2009 in a small town outside of Sacramento, and subsequently my world centered around selfish me. But today, while doing something for work, I stumbled into your story and I felt compelled to reach out. And I felt urged forward because this year would be Tommy’s 18th birthday. I hope my writing this does not rub salt into an eternal wound.

    I have two boys of my own. My oldest (5 years old) has been begging to join Scouts, and looks up to them already. He eaglery awaits for me to sign him up for baseball and is convinced he will play forever. He seems to share a lot of similarities with your sweet boy. I feel honored to get to read the amazing words and memories you have shared of Tommy, and even more honored to read the details of that horrible day that took such strength to share and is so raw. Tommy truly sounds like such a rare treasure in this world, and our world is missing one very bright light without his presence.

    I know no amount of judicial justice will ever come close to replacing what was taken from you. I could write for hours upon end and it would only be a drop in an ocean of what you deserve for what you’ve endured. So instead of wasting more of your time trying to find the right words, know that even when the world seems quiet and small, Tommy’s bright smile and your words are still reaching people. Their hearts break, and through the legacy of Tommy that you have eternalized, they feel the loss of an amazing child. They hurt for a family and a boy they have never had the honor to meet. They hope for the comfort of strangers. Please know I will think of you and your family. And Tommy’s story will stay with me.

    • botells says:

      Dear K,
      Thank you. Today would have been Tommy’s 18th Birthday. Your words have touched my heart on this hard day. Please give your boys an extra big hug tonight. A lot has changed since that terrible day, but one thing always remains…I miss my boy. There was a time when I couldn’t move forward, I was stuck in a memory that haunted me everyday, I had no place to escape, but I am thankful that now I am able to feel my pain but not let it consume me, as it once did. I encourage you to let your boys do Boy Scouts, let them play sports, let them explore their world. Life goes faster than you think and in the end the only regrets are the things we didn’t get to do. Do life with your boys.
      Love to you and your boys,
      Tommy’s Mommy

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