The Simple Gift of Living

As we celebrate another Thanksgiving, I want to share the story of a remarkable woman I know named Angelica.

I have always loved that name, but I never realized how much she lived that name.

Angelica, you see, is dying. She has an advanced neurological disease that saps her strength but somehow refuses to sap her spirit.

Although confined to a wheelchair, she's somehow managing to cook a big Thanksgiving feast for her family and 14 other relatives -- something like 20 people are coming over. Her family's as tight as she is tender. Each brings a dish. Angelica cooks the turkey.

"It's my specialty," she tells me. "Nobody beats my turkey and nobody beats my gravy."

The fact she moves around in a wheelchair doesn't seem much to matter to Angelica, or to her family. They kid her about it.

"My sister says I only use it to keep everyone out of my kitchen," she tells me. "She's right."

All angelica wants to do this Thanksgiving is make her family happy.

She doesn't want their sympathy and they won't give her any.

She doesn't want empty words and they won't tell her any.

She just wants them around her and they will be.

Angelica's got it right. She has lost her job. She has lost her mobility. She has lost almost every basic human function. But she hasn't lost her spirit, or her sense of humor, or her heart.

She owns no stock, but she had me taking stock. Not of things that make you rich on paper, but the things that make you rich in life. Leave it to someone who's dying to remind us about the simple gift of living.

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