In the fall of 2011, I remember setting up a flat screen TV in Mom & Dad's living room. They never had a TV in there before because Mom wanted that room to be the "conversation room" --- for parties and guests, etc. She didn't want some TV blaring away while people were trying to talk. As a kid, I was always confused over why we never had a TV in this gorgeous room, but Mom said no and that was that. As Dad and I were having a cocktail together in the living room, we had such an amazing conversation. He was on a good wave that week - no pain, no anxiety and very upbeat. For many, cancer just sucks the life-force right out of you, in all aspects. But that night was a good night. We sat there talking for hours and at some points during our conversation, we held hands. Dad was really never the type to show affection through hugs or by holding hands, almost ever, but he did show his love in many other ways by his actions. For the longest time, he was resentful over a lot of things, like being betrayed by his closest friends, or getting screwed out of money business-wise…by "friends", as well as being disappointed in humanity overall. I always used to tell him, "Why does it matter, Dad? We are so lucky we have such a close-knit family. I'd take that over money any given day." He'd always respond with something like, "But I wanted to give you girls everything!"  And he did. Both Mom and Dad provided the best childhood for me and my siblings. Our family functions were much more important than any materialistic thing, although they came through more than enough when we were greedy little tikes running around. Yes, I consider ourselves quite the spoiled brats as kids.

"You know sump tin', Deb? We're living like kings here! We're so lucky that we have a close family like we do."

I sat there listening to him repeat my words that I once told him.

"All dose' times I complained abow' this one screwing me over or dat' one taking the food outa' my kids' mouwz' --- we always had it made. I wouldn't trade it in for the world. I am so grateful for all youz'," he said in his Brooklynite accent as he held my hand tightly.

"I love you, Deb." he said, as he giggled with an embarrassing grin.

We never said "I love yous" very often, or at all before he was diagnosed with cancer. It didn't matter. He was saying it now.  I knew he loved me, but verbalizing it was very nice and sometimes awkward since I never was like that with Dad. He said his "I love yous" to Mom like ten times a day and to my sisters as well. He knew. He wanted to say it instead of guessing if we already knew. But the most important thing was, he knew we were happy. He knew that we were grateful for all that we had while growing up and all we have right at this very moment. And even he was grateful for everything he had, unfortunately finding this out later on in life.

So for that, I am grateful that Dad was grateful in the end. I'm so happy he figured out that family time was so much more important than materialistic things. We sat there watching the end of the Yankees game. Dad was a huge fan. And although the Yankees were losing, it was one of the best games he had ever seen because he saw everything with new eyes.  Sometimes, it takes the worse case scenario to make you see 20/20.

This Thanksgiving, I am extremely grateful to be spending it with my family. I am heartbroken still that it's another Thanksgiving without Dad…again…but I know he is with us in spirit, smiling down on us.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Be grateful for every single loved one sitting around the table this Thanksgiving. A few good ones disappeared from our family photo, but the memories will forever live on.

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