This topic has been weighing heavily on me. Gratitude is hard sometimes. Life has twists and turns and sometimes we are left in places where there is no perfect outcome, no happiness in either road.
I started off my grief journey expressing gratitude. That fateful day I was thankful that our doctor came in a said, “I am sorry. There is nothing else we can do.” followed by nothing else. Weird, right!?! We weren’t left with the choice to remove life support. That decision was already made for us. That guilt card was removed from our hand. I have never had to hear, “you didn’t pray hard enough” or that “you didn’t wait long enough for your miracle”. I never have to wonder what if. For that, I am grateful.
Gratitude often comes with an expectation of happiness. In the first weeks and months of grief, gratitude doesn’t equate happiness. It is merely finding something to hang your hat of hope on. I found it to be little things like a hug, a smile, remembering a good memory. I spent the first days and weeks taking time each day to find something to be thankful for. It was my way of coping and fighting the sadness.
As I have grown, I have found gratitude in many other things. Today gratitude is usually rolled with happiness but not always. We continue to do “thankful for” with the kids each night. We don’t try to see the good in each bad thing but rather a good thing in our day. Some situations have no silver lining. You can’t make one. What I can do is find a silver lining in my day. Sometimes I make it that hug the nurse gave me or the smile a stranger had. Other times I see it the connection I made with someone new or the soft bed I head home to. Gratitude isn’t alway easy and it isn’t always about happiness. Some days it helps me focus on something good when all I can see is the terrible, awful situation in front of me.
Today’s image is one of my youngest daughter Haleigh. She is wearing a very special dress. It is special because it was a gift from a friend who had no idea what she was giving me. This dress is the exact dress Clara wore when we laid her to rest. The only difference is the size. Haleigh has found this dress to be one of her favs. It is too small for her and yet she likes to play dress up with it. This is a picture from the day Haleigh surprised me by wearing it. Judging by the smile, you can tell she has not a clue how hard it was for me. She was PROUD to wear it! There is no silver lining here. It was sad and a punch in the gut to see her wearing it. The gratitude I found… that I found the courage to hug this lovely lady while she was wearing it.