, Newburyport, MA

December 18, 2013

Find time to give thanks this holiday season

Richard A. Astukewicz
Newburyport Daily News

---- — It’s that time of year when many of us enjoy the wonders and moments of festive times and many of us will struggle to enjoy and many will be reminded of sadness.

But this time of year brings out the goodness of us all as we give of ourselves all that we can to help the needy, the less fortunate and help them to enjoy a moment of happiness as best they can.

The year is coming to a close and we all hope for a better 2014. We all will share in hope, in prayer, in inspiration as families gather to share the fruits of our lives.

Whether we have joy, sadness, sorrow or happiness, it’s a time of year to reflect on our lives and find that glimmer of hope and satisfaction as best we can.

To help you through this period I give you a letter written by a son of a classmate of mine to his family. This young man was fighting a cancer that left him with a short life. I have omitted names where I could, but the message is there.

“I am sad that I am not there with you this Thanksgiving. I feel especially bad that I am not there this year, with all of you whom I love so much because I have so many things to be thankful for. So, in my absence, here is a list of my thanks this year.

“Thank you for family, for mom and dad, brothers and sisters. Thank you for home, for food, for music. Thank you for trees, for sunshine, for swimming and running, for basketball. Thank you for art, for painting and sculpture, for beautiful buildings and all beautiful things. Thank you for breathing, for sweat, for sleeping, for Cape Cod, for waves and breezes; thank you for pancakes and cheese, chicken and Mom’s special breakfasts. Thank you for sister’s muffins. Thank you, Dad, for short legs and bad eyes. Thank you for good friends, for movies, for Dr. Strangelove, Woody Allen and Clint Eastwood. Thank you for Grandma and Grandpa, for cousins and aunts and uncles, thank you for Louis Armstrong, for Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk; thank you for Mozart and Tchiakovsky, for Vladimir Horowitz, for Beethoven. Thank you for Rome, for Bernini and Michelangelo, for Canova, Giacometti and Rothka, for Chinese drawings. Thank you for Louis Kahn and his buildings. Thank you for our Lord Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi. Thank you for all those things that give life its joy and essence. Finally, thank you for hope, for strength, for peace, for healing and good health. Thank you for love. Thank you for life.”

We all have our sad moments, our happy moments. Let us all look at life as this young man did and find all we can be thankful for. If we look at what we can be thankful for our lives will be richer and more fruitful as well as rewarding.

I wish you all a happy holiday season and may you all find many thank yous. As Red said, “God bless.”


Richard A. Astukewicz of Salisbury is a retired business manager.