John Doolin is an Oak Forest resident and the South Division advertising director for Sun-Times Media.
Updated: December 22, 2012 6:33AM
As we start the process of wrapping up 2012, it’s the time of year to give thanks for the people and things around us.
I started this journey of giving my opinion on a variety of topics one year ago, and professionally it has been the best year of my career. Personally, I started a different journey one year ago as well.
A year ago, my father was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. This Thanksgiving I speak for my entire family — we are thankful to have him. My dad has had a year of ups and downs, a complete lifestyle change.
Through it all he has remained the same guy he has been for the past 43 years. A private man who has only asked that he can continue to work, do the things he enjoys and be able to maintain a quality of life full of happiness and love, surrounded by my Mom, his family and his 13 grandkids.
My dad never asked, “Why me?” He never wanted his diagnosis to be a topic of discussion or an excuse not to participate. He never let it be a crutch to fall back on.
He took it with respect and found dignity when there was none and laughed. As my family, extended family and friends gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, there will be that moment when the bird and all the trimmings are placed on the table. The wine and water are poured, and that expectation of a speech for somebody to deliver.
Like most large Irish Catholic families we are all just a big bunch of “babies.” A years’ worth of emotion will pour out at the table, and I’m confident nobody will be able to get through it.
So I offer the words that everybody is thinking, but nobody can cut through the tears to say. The words that express how thankful we are as a family to again sit at the Thanksgiving table and share a meal with our entire family. I think it would go something like this:
“Here we are, another year has passed and though this year has been a challenge — especially for Dad — we once again are blessed with the ability to share this Thanksgiving Day with all those we love. This past year has brought us closer and enabled us to understand we can’t do it all alone. It taught us how important family and friends are.
We laughed. We cried. We worried. We prayed.
Through it all, the one constant has always been, and always will be, love. Through this challenging year we learned something. We learned that our father and mother raised really good kids. Those kids went on to marry really good people, and the kids they are raising are growing up to be really good kids.
Life is coming full circle. But it all started because two people fell in love: Mom and Dad, you have always been our rock, we are so thankful you are here.
As we exit this year and move into another, let’s raise a glass and offer a toast: To Dad, put this all behind you, the road clearly rose to meet you, sunshine has indeed shined upon your face, and God clearly held you in the hollow of his hand. And may you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when your bag is full.”
John Doolin is an Oak Forest resident and South Division advertising director for Sun-Times Media.