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  • Today was the one-year anniversary of my mother's death. In not-so-polite circles, I refer to it as my mom's "deathiversary." It's hard for me to believe that she's been gone for a whole year. The year following her exit from this planet hasn't been as drama-free as I had hoped. Turns out that life continues to create drama with or without a dying relative.

    But I focused on the positive today. What was my mother's best quality, what should I retain and emulate?

    The answer was simple. My mother had a way of making everyone feel appreciated, from the convenience store clerk to her doctor. She especially connected with those who are often taken for granted, like store clerks, hospital orderlies, and sadly, paid caregivers. No matter how badly she was feeling, she always made sure that they were thanked for doing a job well and for helping her. My mother knew intimate details about these helpers in her lives, when I could barely remember the helper's name.

    Today I went old school and handed out thank you cards to local businesses that have helped make my life a little less difficult over the last several years. I'm grateful that my favorite restaurant managed to survive a tough economy and continues to serve up healthy meals that prove fast food doesn't have to be junk food. I am fortunate to have a Trader Joe's within walking distance of my house, which makes grocery shopping a bit more tolerable. I'm grateful to the plethora of food delivery services in town which means I can get a healthy, gluten-free meal at the click of a button. These things may seem like luxuries, but one thing caregivers don't have is time. So yes, I pay a premium for food delivery or for getting takeout and it is totally worth it. A good, healthy meal can lift the spirits and nourish the soul.

    I felt a bit silly handing out thank you cards, but the smiles that lit upon people's faces made me realize that duh, people like to be appreciated! So try it in the near future. My mother's spirit, floating somewhere in the heavens, will smile down upon you.
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