“I am thankful that you are alive.”
Rather strange first words from a former neighbor calling on Thanksgiving afternoon.
“OK…” I replied somewhat puzzled.
“Let me explain. A couple of nights ago we were driving down our old street with some people we know and got talking about people who had lived in the different houses. When I mentioned you and Layton in your house, the woman said, ‘Oh, didn’t you know? Myrna died about two years ago…cancer or something.’”
My former neighbor was stunned…did not believe she did not know. She thought about the other people she could call to find out…but she took the 2012 method of validating a story and Facebooked me. She was relieved to see that I had posted on Facebook mid-September and was indeed alive.
Thus the Thanksgiving call. Our children are the same age and we used to carpool the kids to playschool and kindergarten. Both our families were “orphans” in the community, having no other family up north. I shared with her that some of my best Christmas memories are bundling up the kids and loading the sleigh with Christmas cooking and heading down the block to their brightly decorated home.
She shared that she thinks of me almost every day. I always wanted my kids to be positive and somewhere along the way, I learned a great way to create gratitude and positive expectancy. To this day, she uses this technique for herself. This is what she learned from me:
At night, before the kids went to sleep, I would ask, “What was the best thing about your day today?” They would pause and reflect on the good of their day. Then I would ask, “And what are you looking forward to tomorrow?” That gave them something positive to reflect on as they entered their sleep zone.
One evening, I asked my oldest son these questions. Things had not been good in the neighbourhood for a week or so. The “big boys” (nine-year-olds) were being rather mean to the “little boys” (five-year-olds). A friend’s twelve-year-old son from another neighbourhood chose to spent the day with my five-year-old.
“So what was the best thing about your day today?”
“Joey and I laid on the trampoline and looked at pictures in the clouds.” OK-that is pretty cool.
“And what are you looking forward to tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow we are going to look at the sky some more and draw some pictures of the clouds.” Wow.
So, had I died two years ago, I suppose this would have been my legacy. And I am OK with that. We never know what we will do that will change another life. I am grateful I know how I changed one life.