One foot in front of the other.

Four thanksgivings ago, my life had mangled itself into something I no longer recognized.  I had woken up the day before in my own home, albeit broken, but my mine. I had come down the stairs to find the dogs items packed up for my Ex to bring him to his brother’s for Thanksgiving. Something (finally) clicked. I had said I would leave so many times before- to myself, to him, to anyone with an ear. In telling my Ex I would not be attending Thanksgiving with him, I knew he felt the shift. He knew that I was really breaking away. I had a feeling that he may take the dog with him and leave the dog with his family to keep him away from me. That was the final straw. That is why I walked away from what I now know was an abusive relationship. My dog. So when I laugh at people who poke fun at the way I love on that furball and say, ‘He saved my life.’ I mean it. I woke up the very next morning, on Thanksgiving, four years ago in a bed that was not mine, in a home I had never lived in, surrounded by family so willing to open their home and lives for me to find a new beginning.

I wish I could say that I walked away, lesson learned, and everything was sunshine and rainbows. It wasn’t. That storyline went up in flames before finally ending.  But, what makes this a story worth telling, is where I stand today.  I still am reminded every Thanksgiving of the shaky, uneasy steps forward I took that day. Of the journey begun. It may not have been the day that my life turned around, or that particular piece of my story ended, but it was absolutely the start.
My heart is so grateful for that choice. Grateful for every difficult day and night. And so fortunate for every laugh, smile, adventure, and every moment of happiness that followed. For the ability to have wandered the road on my own. For growth, love, and a life I never could have imagined. This Thanksgiving I am reminded to keep a heart full of gratitude- for the journey, for incredible family and friends, for my best friend (and soon-to-be husband), and of course, for that damn dog.

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