Today is not 2558. Today is 2579. But, on Day 2558, we hit seven years of gratitude. I completely missed it.
I missed it because there was a death in my immediate family two days before.
I completely forgot to show up to any appointments or notice anything much that entire week. I’d be surprised if I had been performing as normal. I’m just not an automaton.
You might think I’d be angry with God but I’m not. Yes, I’ve experienced anger but not with God. In fact, I’ve been grateful. I’m grateful for the life lessons that I experienced for having been a part of the same family as the person who passed away. I’m grateful for the memories that I carry with me and although the manner of their final sendoff is not as I would have hoped, I’m grateful that I found a way (creatively, I might add) to say goodbye and get the closure that I needed. And finally, I’m grateful that I was able to get right with the person before they died. I can’t be responsible for how they received my love, forgiveness, amends and release, but I know that I did what I needed to do to be able to look at myself in the mirror and feel good. I made sure that I said goodbye with authenticity and integrity before the final moment came.
When the final moment came, I was not there. I was not there when my mother’s final moments came, either. I was the only family member who was living far away at the time. And so, perhaps I am the best equipped to know how to get closure when you can’t be there. While I’m not grateful to have lived most of my life without my mother, I am grateful for the lesson that struggling for years to get closure gave me: get right before the time comes and stay right with people. Never let a day end with anger or unforgiveness between you. And always, love. And if you love, let it be expressed.
One of the most powerful expressions of love is, of course, gratitude. Without this practice, I’m not sure I could bear this loss with any grace at all.
Even as illness hovered and death came to our home, I knew this anniversary was coming up for some time now, and I have wondered all year whether I would experience some form of 7-year itch with this practice. All I can say is that the more that I practice gratitude, and allow myself to express my appreciation, the more open my heart becomes. The more open my heart becomes, the deeper this practice becomes and the more joy there is – even in the face of sorrow.
If I’ve got an itch, it is to see how deep this joy can go and the many ways that gratitude will give me grace in sorrowful times.