A Lasting Connection

The Thanksgiving holiday is very special for my family. My mother was born on Nov. 23, so every year somewhere close to Thanksgiving, we celebrated my Mom’s birthday.

Earlier this year my Mom passed away, so this is the first Thanksgiving we celebrated without my Mom being physically present. She is with us in spirit and many of the recipes we used on Thanksgiving came from her old recipe box.

When my youngest daughter was in high school our family agreed to accept a foreign exchange student to live with us for more than four months. Atsuko was from Japan; she spoke almost no English, and no one in our family spoke a word of Japanese, but somehow we were able to communicate with our eyes and with the use of a small computer that translated English to Japanese.

My daughter and Atsuko remained dear friends all through the years and have visited each other twice since high school. With the use of social media, Atsuko and my daughter stayed in touch on a regular basis. About one year ago we learned that Atsuko was very ill and about one week ago Atsuko died of cancer.

Our Thanksgiving celebration this year was filled with family members and friends, and all the traditional, wonderful food enjoyed at this time of year. My one-year-old granddaughter really enjoyed being the center of attention.

However, this year my mom and Atsuko were still very much part of our celebration. Both of these women lived their lives with passion and made everyone they met feel special and welcomed. Even though they grew up in different cultures, had 60 years in age difference, and spoke different languages…it was remarkable how much they were alike and how much they were able to show unconditional love to their family and friends.

Love and acceptance are common traits that enable us to have a lasting relationship with our family and friends that transcend even death.


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HCF's Local Health Buzz Blog aims to discuss health and health policy issues that impact the uninsured and underserved in our service area. To submit a blog, please contact HCF Communications Officers, Jennifer Sykes, at jsykes@hcfgkc.org.

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