I’ve been sick lately and I am feeling a great deal of gratitude for pharmaceuticals because without them, it would have been much more difficult.

I’m sure that there is an underlying emotional component to illness. It felt a bit like I was drowning this past week which could be a manifestation of grief ‘smothering’ me. I acknowledge that, but, right now, I want to talk about gratitude.

Many of us strive to remember our blessings on a daily basis, but out of the twenty-four hours in each day, how much time do we really spend acknowledging them?

Today, this moment, I am grateful that I can breathe with less effort after a week of inhalers, nebulizers, cough medicine, antibiotics, steroids and a visit to the ER. I am so thankful, I want to get down on my knees, put my palms together and say thank-you, thank-you for the wonder of modern science and the ease of my breath.

I take so much for granted. I have spent too much time bemoaning my plight, missing my son and grandkids, which just made it worse. I know it’s important to be aware of and experience the normal, appropriate feelings that occur after traumatic events, but there comes a time when we must stand in our strength and find the courage to press on.

I find that practicing gratitude gives me strength. It changes my focus from the have nots to the haves. And I have so much.

My brother called recently and shared his joy of being a grandfather. I am very happy for him, and he is a wonderful grandfather. Of course, a nagging voice inside me kept reminding me that I didn’t have my grandchildren, that I am alone and forsaken, isn’t it terrible and why me?

After we hung up, I had a moment of sadness about my situation, (because of what I was telling myself about it). Then I reminded myself that the best way to make myself miserable was to compare his bounty, or anyone else’s for that matter, to my lack. The only thing making comparisons does is make someone a winner or a loser. There is no up side to this way of thinking,

Everyone walking this earth has their own itinerary. Where they go, what they find, experience, learn, gain or lose during their journey is theirs and only theirs.

This is my journey and I am ready to honor it. It is mine, only mine and it’s a beautiful thing. I have had the privilege of walking on this earth for over 60 years now, and I have seen more than I ever imagined, felt more than I ever thought my heart could contain and learned more than I thought I was capable of ever knowing.

As I grow older, I view my life as a miracle. I’ve survived so much and been given so much grace. My eyes have beheld stars, ocean tides and giant sequoias. I have gazed with wonder at my sleeping child. My ears have heard the music of Beethoven, the laughter of babies, the sound of wind through tall pines. My arms have cradled my grandchildren. My heart has remained loving even as it became cracked and hollowed, forced to continue to live within its own haunted walls.

Now that I can breathe deeply again, I will start here, today, to breathe new life into my own life by practicing gratitude and appreciation for what I have and for who I am.

There is much to live for and I choose to believe that the best is yet to come.

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps a singing bird will come.”

– Chinese proverb

10 thoughts on “Gratitude”

  • Hi Nancy, I’m sorry you’ve been ill. Not fun at all and remember to be extra vigilant to not let your emotions get the best of you when you’re sick. Remember last month I got blindsided when I was sick – sounds like you’re staying positive.
    One of my dearest and oldest friend’s is blessed with 6 grandchildren and one more due any day. I love her grown children and her grandchildren and I’m blessed that, unlike my own estranged daughter, her children enjoy my company and I dote over their children. Recently I noticed that my friend hadn’t been talking about her gbabies very much so I said to her that regardless of how heartbreaking my situation is with being denied contact with my own, beautiful, grandson, that I never wanted her to hold back or not share stories about her own gbabies. It turns out she was holding back. Now that we’ve talked she is reassured that her stories are always welcome. Have there been times that it’s just been too painful to share in other grandparents’ joy? ABSOLUTELY and I’m sure there will be more but overall I’m happy to live vicariously thru them 🙂
    So take care of yourself and get well! And as always, it’s nourishment to my aching soul to read your monthly stories.

    • Hi Lora! Thanks for writing and sharing your thoughts. Good for you for having a generous heart and a loving attitude toward your friend’s grandchildren. And, you are so right about illness weakening us. I did my best to stay positive, but I had a few days that were rough, emotionally and mentally. Health is so important! I’m getting better, thank you, and my outlook is also recuperating! Estrangement is so tough, because it just doesn’t ‘go away.’ Hang in there and keep taking that high road!

  • Upon waiking up, I. Look at my e-mail to see if there is a new posting on this site. Mayb I should well leave the past alone, since I am not lady sunshine this morning. I have, for the most part been taking one day at a time. Tomorrow I will reach my seventhieh birthday. I always tried to think in a positive manner, but today I found it very hard since tomorrow rear it’s ugly head n a sadness Invide my heart. As though there is such a fog in my head.
    I know that just like all the other birthdays, there will not b any birthdays wishes, no phone calls, no cakes. no acknowledgment that tomorrow will not be any different.
    Four children for which I was always proud! But still one always hope that their heart b filled with empathy and recognize all that I did for the,. It’s most likely hat a meteor should hit the hearth.

    Since my grandson is held as a pawn in this drama, I will probably be offerred 10 minutes to buy new clothes n running shoes. He will then leave in a hurry n I will go home with my pain. Someday are so much harder than other!!!
    I wish I could go to sleep and wake up on August 2nd. I am so tired of it all. Week-end are always the same and the worst. My grandson is now 9, and since his birth, we always spend the week-end together. My husband is grieving n so am I.

    Our life has lost all colour and the music track is broken. Has any one of you ever go to court for grandparent rights. I would like to.hear about that. I feel our time frame is running. Soon, (12-13
    our grandson will have new friends, sleep-over and all, and suddenly he will no longer be a child, not that he has ever been allowed one.

    Please let me know of your experience with grandparents right

    • Hello, Danielle, and thank you for writing. First, to answer your question, I have not gone for grandparents visitation. Each state has different laws, and some states are working hard at passing laws that give grandparents the right of visitation, depending on circumstances, etc. I thought about pursuing it at one point, but I decided that it would further alienate my son, who is in a difficult enough situation. Also, I didn’t want to get my hopes up and wind up on the losing end, exhausted and depleted, which, realistically would have been probable. After giving it thought, I decided to let it go.

      I’m sorry that your grandson is being used as a pawn, and I understand about losing the bonding years. It is the same in my case. What I tell myself is that, in the end, I am their grandmother, I am an archetypal figure in their sub-conscious at least, if not in their physical lives at this point. There may come a day when they might want to know who I am (if I live that long!), or they may not. I have no control. But what I do choose to do is, from time to time, I write a letter to them, keep records of communications, text them occasionally to let them know I’m here, that I love them.

      Every child wants to be loved, so just keep meeting your grandson for those ten minutes and shower him with your love.Then, when you say good-bye, know that you’ve given him something precious besides a pair of new shoes – you’ve blessed him with your love.

      Try to enjoy your weekends! You’re about to celebrate a milestone birthday. Gather your husband and friends around you and celebrate all that you have learned and lived through. Find some joy on this occasion- why let your children rule you? Ok, so they don’t acknowledge you on your birthday, I know it hurts, but you can’t force them. So, let it go, relax and have fun. Celebrate you!

  • I hope you’re breathing easy and feeling stronger everyday. Sadness and stress can deplete your immune system in so many ways. You’re a beautiful soul, please take good care of you. The best is yet to come…

  • It is hard to be around other intact, happy families, I know. I find that if I focus on the fact that I’m glad that they have happiness in this area of their lives, and remind myself that, whatever they may be, we all have our challenges, it helps me put it all in perspective. We’re all on this earth to learn and everything is ok between souls.
    Thank you for writing!

  • Thank you once again for your uplifting and wise words, I am amazed at how relevant they are to my situation, sometimes it’s hard to feel happy for others who have their grandchildren around them but focussing on the MANY blessings I DO have helps

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