Giving Back Gratitude

Sowing Seeds of Happiness to Commemorate an Anniversary

I’ve come to like making a big deal of a couple cancer-related anniversaries — my diagnosis date, which I call my “cancerversary,” and the last day of treatment.

Today, February 20, marked the second anniversary of the end of treatment.

It’s been an amazing two years. On the short list: Preached in church twice, given a motivational speech, carried a friend up a mountain in an obstacle race, written a book and trained for a marathon.

I commemorated today’s anniversary by giving Seeds of Happiness to my colleagues at the Knox County Health Department. Seeds of Happiness are, as the photo above shows, litle seed-shaped lumps of clay formed into smiley faces and glazed in a variety of colors. I was given my own Seed of Happiness by my friend, Belinda, who is a new ostomate and wanted me to share information about what life is like pooping in a pouch.

The thing was so cute, I knew I had to “spread some seed,” so to speak. So I decided today was a perfect opportunity. I even reached out to the artist who makes them to ensure I would have them in time.

In a bag, Seeds of Happiness look like gumballs. To the people I shared them with, they meant so much more — to me and to them.

“Today is the second anniversary of the end of my cancer treatment,” I said, inviting my colleagues to pick a colorful face from the bag. “Because I’m not supposed to be here, I’m sharing happiness.”

I got a lot of hugs, which is always a good thing. There were some tears, too, from people who either didn’t know my story or from people who appreciated a gesture of goodwill.

It was a wonderful morning making people smile.


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  • Reply
    Kim Hansard
    February 21, 2015 at 1:17 am

    What a,nwonderful day to celebrate and I love the ‘seeds of happiness’. I have never heard of them. So now, consider me educated. I may just have to sow some of my own.

    • Reply
      Michael Holtz
      February 21, 2015 at 1:31 am

      Kim, they are totally adorable and not very expensive. And the smiles were totally worth it.

  • Reply
    Kim Isenberg
    February 21, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    I’m sooooooo glad that you’re still here!! Happy anniversary, Mart!!


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