Wednesday, May 14, 2014
A whole lot of Gratitude
The flip side of living through this kind of emotional pain is that, while the hurting is intense, I have also never felt so much intense gratitude. I am not going to say that I go around marveling and singing the praises of everything, (The weeds in my yard bring much needed color! Ben's tantrum means he has a strong will and can think for himself! The dog chewed up another pair of underwear, but we needed to buy some new ones anyway!) No, I'm not cut out to be quite that positive. But, when I can see through the fog of the grief, I can see all around me the amazing gifts I have been given.
1. My kids. They can be so irritating, they can rattle me to my core, they take up all of my energy and patience and then some. But they make every day good. They keep bringing me back to joy. When Ben makes his belly button talk to me, Natalie wears a crazy mismatched outfit, Joe tries to force me to play "Guess which element on the Periodic Table I am", or Sammy almost gets a goal at his soccer game, I smile, I laugh, I feel so much hope. I'm so glad that I get to parent them.
2. My friends. They are in this with me. Each of my precious friends is walking this journey with me and they don't have to! They don't have to put themselves in a position to feel my pain, to listen to me cry, to send me texts and make phone calls just to make sure I'm hanging in there. Some of the things I say are terribly sad and upsetting, but they keep showing up. I'm so grateful.
3. My family. My other sister, my Mom, my brother-in-law who misses his wife terribly, but whose grief is multiplied because not only does he live it everyday, he lives it through the eyes of their four beautiful children that he now parents alone. These people feel this intense pain every day with me. We are working on it together. We all have big plans to not let my sister's death scar our lives permanently, but to use it to help us become stronger and more alive in the time we have left on earth. How lucky am I that I have these people in my life? The luckiest.
4. My husband. He has it rough. I am not an easy person to live with right now. People who are grieving are, let's say, unpredictable. If you ask me what's for dinner, I might say, "Nachos! And it isn't easy to make nachos! Everything is so hard and I'm barely able to do this!" and start sobbing. So many things can come up during an average day that can throw me into an emotional tailspin. Since I never know when these triggers will come up, he obviously never knows, either. He gets pelted with my emotional shrapnel every day and never falters. My sister hand-picked my husband for me, and for that I am forever in her debt.
Life is hard, but it is so, so good.