Seeing Thanksgiving.


It’s just what we do. At Thanksgiving, we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. It’s all very After School Special-ish, but I love it. Gratitude dressed in words takes on a life of its own. And it’s beautiful.

Every year, when it’s my turn, the family holds their collective breath…and wait…for the tears. Every. Year. I’m not the crying type, but put me in front of the people I need the most, at a table full of things we didn’t have growing up, surrounded by the soft sounds of jibaro music, and I’m a goner. Every. Year.

My mother’s battle with cancer was long and it left a scar on my heart. The type of scar that protrudes from your skin, so others can see if it they stared hard enough. She’s tired, she tells me on a phone conversation earlier this week, and she thinks she’s losing her sight. From all the radiation. I don’t know what to say. Because life is breathtaking and I want her to see it. Forever. Last night at the dinner table I cried. I said I was thankful for my mother’s health. Though fragile, she’s here. And even though the turkey was still frozen at dinner time, and her yams not thoroughly cooked, she celebrated life. With us. And it’s beautiful.

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  1. Jen

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Prayers to you and your mother Jasmine. So glad you can spend this time together.

  2. Shannon Gray

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    My dad had cancer as well…and was told he only had 3 months to live during his battle with it…he amazingly beat the odds. I definitely know what you are going through! Glad your mom made it through it!! I thank God every day for my dad still being here with us!!

  3. Carrie

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Beautifully said. Drink it in the love and blessings now and always. Prayers to you and yours this holiday season.

  4. John Naccarato

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Im saying a prayer for your mother Jasmine. I lost my father to cancer two years ago and I miss him everyday. If she’s as strong as you are, you will be sharing many more Thanksgivings together.

  5. kim lowery

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    And you are beautiful. Really.

  6. Andrew

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    It is SO good to express your gratitude out loud to those close to you. It makes everything real:). Love the moments Jasmine, like taking a picture, but with your memory instead.

  7. Samantha Lord

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Hi Jasmine, I’ve been reading your blog for about 3 months and I’ve fallen in love with your photos, personality, and love for life. I haven’t commented before, but this post made me feel the need to thank you for inspiring me. I lost my own mother to cancer two years ago, and it’s been difficult to get through and to keep going after her life on earth is over. But I’m so thankful for people like who inspire me to go fully after my dreams, even after it feels like all my dreams crashed around me. So thank you!

  8. Alicia

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    This is beautiful & I totally relate. Having gone through my own battle with cancer three years ago, every day is a gift to me & I cherish the time that I have with the family that I have. This year was my first year hosting Thanksgiving & I wanted my sisters & kids & parents to know just how thankful I am to have another year. On their placecards I put something about each of them that makes me so thankful to have them in my life. It’s a beautiful tradition you have & it we have to seize every opportunity to tell those around us why we need them & love them.

  9. Carrie Vines

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    The love in your family is beautiful!

  10. Meghan

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Beautiful Jasmine. My grandmother is going through the same thing and its so painful to watch her fight and fight and fight. Keeping you and your family (especially your mother) in my prayers.

  11. Sandy Dilbeck

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    NOW…I’m crying!! Beautiful Jasmine…just beautiful!!

  12. Alex

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Jasmine, such beautiful words. Thanks for sharing. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re mother thinks she is losing her sight, and pray that she will get better soon. However it’s nice to know that you are focusing on the good – the fact that she is there with you. Happy Thanksgiving.

  13. Diana Gordon

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    there is power in bringing out what lays inside. forming words around the emotions and thoughts that holds your soul will transform you the world around you. speaking out your gratitude will open you up and you will SEE for each tear you will receive a smile. Yes some people call it praying. 🙂

  14. Jihan Cerda

    November 26th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Your mom is an amazing woman!! i knew it within a minute of talking to her. I happy your family is able to continuing celebrating with her and that she is in good health. xoxo

  15. maile

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    this post is so beautiful. And so are you. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  16. gladys jem

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    i don’t know what to say, except god is good. im thinking of you and millie, and your family. love you jasmine!

  17. Jennifer Jar

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Jasmine 🙂

  18. Anahy

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Aww Jasmine, you are so precious. Big hugs.

  19. patricia

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    praying for your mom and your family. =] beautiful, heartwarming post.

  20. Monica Lakes Ouziel

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    heartfelt moments this is what life is all about enjoy the precious time you have angels are watching over you god bless you and your family jasmine

  21. feuza reis

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    ah Jasmine, you just made me cry, sending prayers, hugs and healthy living for your mom

  22. Mom

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I love you very much Jasmine and if my double-vision continues to get worse, I’ll just have the joy of seeing TWO Jamine Stars, instead of ONE. Love, Mom

  23. Ed Congdon

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    What a beautiful post, Jasmine. Having those you love with you at holiday times is always wonderful. Your tears are heartfelt and true; one day they will be a reminder for you of the good times and the love you have shared with your mother. Bless you!

  24. Angela Woolridge

    November 26th, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Hugs to you, and prayers for God to hold your heart so gentle and tender and whisper to you how deeply that He loves you.

  25. Ashley

    November 26th, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks for being so open with…well, the world! It’s so touching and I’ll be praying for you and yours.

  26. Elizabeth

    November 26th, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    Enjoy every moment Jasmine with not only your mom but with your dad too. I lost my mom and dad and there is nothing more heartbreaking than visiting them on the Holidays with tons of flowers and talking to their headstone, yes, I talk to them and tell them everything. I think every year gets harder not easier for me. Still breaks my heart to know they are gone but I know I will never forget them for as long as I shall live.

  27. Diana Lupu

    November 26th, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Your heart is so beautiful…and your mother’s health is in my prayers always. 🙂

  28. Seer Hor

    November 26th, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    What a brave woman. Lucky to have invaluable family support!. I myself is an optometrist. Depends on what type of radiotherapy, common cause of visual loss is cataract. Good news is, if it is, it can be treated relatively easily. Consult an optometrist/ophthalmologist for a diagnosis.

  29. Pamela Topping

    November 26th, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    Keeping your mom in my prayers<3

  30. Mercedes

    November 26th, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    It’s so nice to read about someone who appreciates family so much.

  31. Sheila Floyd

    November 26th, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    i cry during so many of your blogs for one reason or another… your raw feelings and openess to all of us strangers is special and therapeutic…thank you Jasmine.. …i am not sure what else to say except thank you and thank you again

  32. Linda Geertsen

    November 26th, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving Jasmine! You are wonderful.

  33. Stephanie Stewarts

    November 26th, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    You got me good with this one, J*! My husband’s Mom was diagnosed just over a year ago, on her birthday, in fact, with lung cancer. She’s been through chemo and radiation, lost hearing in one ear, but she is still here. And I can’t wait to see her soon! Your story of your Mom gives me hope. I sit here with tears in my eyes. Tears of hope and thankfulness. Thank you so much!

  34. Christina Moodie

    November 26th, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing Jasmine. My grandmother, who I am very close to, has lung cancer. We were not able to see her this Thanksgiving. We are hoping to see her at Christmas since we don’t live near her. It is hard seeing a loved one like that. Prayers for your family.

  35. LEOLAK

    November 26th, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Tears…here…what a beautiful post..thank you for always sharing what’s in your heart. Many blessings and prayers to your mom, you and your family. Sending good thoughts and prayers to your mom for continued good health.

  36. Robyn

    November 26th, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Cancer is always a tender battle and my heart truly goes out to you and your family, Jasmine. Hug her tightly. And know that it is always okay to cry. God’s blessings to you all this holiday season! You’re in my prayers.

  37. Ronee

    November 26th, 2010 at 10:38 pm

    This one made me tear up. I totally relate. My mom is 64 and dying of Alzheimer’s. Even though she is only a shell of her former self, she still sits and smiles. You are right about life being breathtaking…thanks for the reminder.

  38. Kelsey Anderson

    November 27th, 2010 at 1:49 am

    I know all to well how having a parent with cancer or having fought cancer tears you apart inside and out. My mother had breast cancer when I was 13 and my father passed away from liver cancer when I was 7 months pregnant with my son going on 4 years ago. Life is so precious and you must enjoy every moment of it. Hugs to you!

  39. Grace Cook

    November 27th, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Lifting up your Mom in prayer today 🙂

  40. S Abreu

    November 27th, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Jasmine… Thanks for sharing this part of your life with us… Most of the time you make me smile with you FB posts. But today was diferent. I got this verse in my heart when I finished to read your post "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God" . Praying for her now…

  41. Melissa

    November 27th, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Somehow you always manage to touch my heart and soul and today you made me cry. Love to you and your amazing family sweet girl!

  42. Katelyn James

    November 27th, 2010 at 3:41 am

    thank God for our beautiful families… Michael’s dad always chokes up when he says the blessing each year….each year is a miracle:) Love u!

  43. denise armbruster

    November 27th, 2010 at 5:09 am

    God bless you and your family you deserve some blessings

  44. tangie

    November 27th, 2010 at 5:40 am


  45. Dee

    November 27th, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Happy Belated Thanksgiving… I too, am keeping your mom in my prayers. {hug}

  46. Jennifer Bacchiocchi

    November 27th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    I’m sorry your family has been through so much, but glad that your mom is still here with you! My dad suffered a massive stroke 8 years ago, and although he lost a lot of function and his life was altered, I am so thankful that he is here! And my kids have known their amazing Nunu. So who can blame us for being a little sappy? Hugs and prayers to you and your mom.

  47. Jakki

    November 27th, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    yessssssssss…life and love…are so very beautiful. Good gawd I want to hug you, LOL

  48. Abby

    November 28th, 2010 at 3:09 am

    My heart aches reading this post, I check in to this blog every day as it’s one of my favorites, but today I wanted to reach out and tell you that I know how you feel, with my Mom it’s lung cancer, and I know that there’s only one Mom in your life, and how hard this fight is. I am an american cancer society volunteer with relay for life and I would love to honor your mom at our upcoming meeting with a special luminaria. Please contact me via e-mail and let me know her name so it can be more personal than "j*’s Mom". I will add your Mom to my prayer list, and you as her caregiver, because I know the hurt and fear cancer causes.

  49. Monica Martin

    November 28th, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Huge tear drop. Man, you always remind me of how much I love my mom. My prayers are with her…

  50. Thom Gourley

    November 28th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    My wife recently went through a battle with breast cancer, so the sentiments that you express are right on the mark for us this year also. It is indeed beautiful!

    All the best to you and your Mom!


  51. Diane -

    November 28th, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    God is watching over you and your family and I too say how thankful I am for my health and my family. We lost my sister almost 2 years ago (can’t believe how fast that has gone by) and I’m grateful for them. I’ve learned a new strength but still struggle and hope God gets me through it. All I can do now is 1 day at a time.

  52. Michelle & Ben

    November 28th, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Jasmine- I’ve never had such a scare from someone soooo close to me- I feel for you sooo much and can’t even imagine the scar it has left. My prayers continue for you to heal and live in LOVE everyday and cherish every moment with your mom! Your mom’s comment post made me cry! 🙂 she LOVES you soooo much! 🙂 and also thinks of the positive in it all! <3 from Me & Ben to you all 🙂

  53. Claire O'Hara

    November 29th, 2010 at 1:50 am

    awesome. simply awesome. im a cryer myself and this brought me to tears as well.

  54. Amy

    November 29th, 2010 at 3:37 am

    November 2009, two days before Thanksgiving, my mom, just 55-years-old, was told that she had cancer again. A different kind. A more aggressive kind. Esophageal cancer. The first half of this year was harrowing. There were many times we thought she was going to pass. However, we just celebrated Thanksgiving 2010 and she is still with us. Tired. Fed through a tube in her stomach but she’s here. And she can visit and talk and hug. I know all too well this scar you talk about. Mine started in 1997 when she was diagnosed with leukemia. That scar healed. Then a new one took its place last year. Now that one is healing. Yours will too. Hugs.

  55. stephanie

    November 29th, 2010 at 4:24 am

    agh.. this post brought me to tears. i’m so glad that you have a beautiful family who taught you to cherish every opportunity and be thankful to God for it. God bless you this holiday season, Jasmine!

  56. Jen

    November 29th, 2010 at 4:41 am

    My heart is with you. My mother was diagnosed last year in October… Breast cancer awareness month none-the-less. We lost her mother and sister to the disease. She on the other hand is doing well. Caught early. Life is a gift. Each moment. A gift from Heaven above. Jesus can heal all wounds. Even scars. That’s His specialty my sweet friend ♥

  57. Amy Wenzel

    November 29th, 2010 at 5:21 am

    I love you, Jasmine! If God can heal cancer, he can heal eye sight. By His stripes we are healed. =) xoxoxo

  58. Katie

    November 29th, 2010 at 5:37 am

    Jasmine, I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom. It is so important to do exactly what you did-be thankful. Remember that our God is bigger than that disease. Keep believing for healing. Ephesians 3:20 "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." Praying for your family.

  59. Candace Prokopets

    November 29th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I read this post over the weekend and I’m still thinking about it today. Praying for you and your family.

  60. Rich Park

    November 29th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    thank you so much for sharing jasmine – your mom is in my prayers.

  61. jeramy

    November 29th, 2010 at 5:43 pm

    happy thanksgiving jasmine. 🙂

  62. Lester Molina

    November 29th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    My heart goeas out to you and your loved ones. I trully hope your mom gets better soon.

  63. Jenna Danelle

    November 30th, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Your words touch my heart and bring tears to my eyes. You are such a strong and amazing woman and I’m positive you got that very strength from your mother! I spent the holiday with family and my Grandmother who raised me is fading fast, I went to spend what time I could with her, I’m sure it’ll be the last. But I’m ever thankful for all she is and will always be in my life. I’m thankful for you sharing such tender moments, and a sliver of that strength to help me along…. Thank you. *hugs*

  64. Angelina

    November 30th, 2010 at 2:20 am

    You’re such a wonderful person and know your parents played a big part in who you are today. I pray your mothers health is good for many, many years to come-youre entire family as well. I cant imagine what you and your family went through with the cancer. My mom had lung cancer but it was caught early enough that they were able to remove it and she didnt have to go through chemo. She didnt tell me about it until the day she went in for the surgery….you can imagine my surprise! Anyway Im very grateful everything turned out the way it did and thank God everyday she is doing good and still with us. Glad to hear you had a great Thanksgiving and hope the rest of the Holidays are wonderful as well!

  65. Karen Stott

    November 30th, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Isaac read me this post after he read it and it hit me hard. I didn’t have the courage to comment because I didn’t know what to say. I haven’t been in your shoes. But I haven’t been able to get you and your Mother out of my mind. All weekend. So I had to revisit and let you know, that you guys have been and will be thought of, prayed for, and loved. So loved. Hugs.

  66. Anna

    November 30th, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I’ll be praying for your mom and your family, Jasmine. My uncle was recently diagnosed with leukemia and not a day goes by I don’t pray for his strength, no matter how strong he always seems to be. Stay strong as you’ve been already. God’s watching you both.

  67. Nicole L

    December 22nd, 2010 at 4:48 am

    Wow!!! I am just now reading this, and I’m not really a "commenter," but I have to thank you!!! This was beautiful, and I needed to read it!!! This year, the day after Thanksgiving, my amazing grandfather went to be with Jesus after fighting cancer for the past 6 months. I can’t even begin to explain how thankful I am that I got to spend my Thankgiving with him, even if he had just gone back into the hospital. When you have love, you can celebrate anywhere!!! I’m so sorry you and your family are having to deal with this. Just by reading your blogs, I know your family, like mine is surrounded by the love and strength and joy that only God can provide!!! I am praying for your mom and for your family!!! I hope you have a Merry Christmas!!!