Being Grateful in 2020

When I was a teenager, I loved the song, "Turn Turn Turn" by The Byrds. My mother had a popcorn tin full of records that I adored listening to from age 12 to 15 and that was one of the records in her collection.

 

It mesmerized and quieted me. It wasn't until a few years later in college, that I realized the song was based off the Bible scripture from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

 

While thumbing through passages in my Bible, there it was. It just hit me right in the chest. The Byrds were singing scripture in mainstream media in the 1960s.
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Before I discovered it was scripture, those lyrics often brought me to tears as a teenager. ...I thought of my Uncle who was taken from this Earth too young and unjustly. Those same records had been listened to by him and his sisters, one of which was my mother.

My Aunt Linda at 13

Uncle Mickey at 11

My Mother at 12

In 1972, years before I was born, my Uncle Mitchell Queen returned home from Vietnam, having worked as a technician on a minesweeper. He was excited to be on leave for Thanksgiving, driving home to his Mama and Papa in Yankton, South Dakota...

Unfortunately, he never made it home.

As he drove from Long Beach from his Navy base, he picked up a drifter who was hitchhiking on the highway. He was kind like that.

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The man shot him to death, drug his young body to the ditch and stole his car. My family was never the same after that.
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Every Thanksgiving without fail... we cried, even if just a quiet tear. I cried for the man I never met. Who's rash of freckles and ruddy brown hair was the opposite of me with my olive skin and black hair. But who's humor and compassion were paralleled to my own according to every. single. member of my family.
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My family was sad but they never stopped being kind to others. Though they warned me, "Never pick up strangers." They never hesitated to help someone on the road who was out of gas or had a flat tire.
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Years and years later, just 2 years after I started TNW Creations and the same year I published my first book, my Grandmother who was my favorite person in the world, passed away days before Thanksgiving.
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Every Thanksgiving is emotional for me. It was never an easy holiday growing up. There was always this unspoken sadness, overwhelming fatigue from my Grandfather that I now recognize as an adult was depression. Easily frustrated family members debating when to have turkey or when not to all while seeming as if their hearts and minds were somewhere else... it wasn't turkey they really cared about. The only thing they really wanted was to have Mickey back.


I miss my Uncle who I never met. I miss my Grandmother who I loved like a mother.
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This year seems as if my pain is shared by millions around the world in different ways. 2020 has been cruel to humanity as a whole. So much loss suffered, from lives to jobs to even relationships.
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My Grandmother lost her only son… taken from her while being kind to another. And yet she raised me to be as loving, kind, good and caring as she had raised him to be. She taught me that even on the darkest days, in the hardest moments... "this too shall pass."
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Those words carried me through some dark moments in my life. So I want to share them with you too. There is a time for every season. A time to weep and a time to laugh. A time to mourn and a time to dance.
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My lovelies... Wipe away those tears. And let's dance.
💞