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Friday, October 31, 2014

The balm of gratitude

It's been about 5.5 years since she left this world. And the years before that saw a slow decline of mind and body into a state that was unsustainable. 

Death is difficult, no matter what the circumstances. And no 2 circumstances are exactly the same. Be it the diagnosis, the suddenness (or length) of it's reach, the relationships surrounding the soul. 

For those around the dead or dying person there is a mix of conflicting emotions. Sometimes in the same moments, sometimes fluctuating from moment to moment, or year to year. 

Somehow, in my recent reflections of my mothers death, reflections I too often try to avoid due to the extent of the pain involved, I have begun to find peace 

I don't know how. Or why. Or where this happens. But it's happening. 

Grief is so complex, it is difficult to put into words. Though we try. There are countless books and experts on the subject. Support groups, etc. and no right answers. 

All of this to say that My words here will be a simplification of my heart. 

Why does a good, loving, peaceful and hardworking woman have to suffer and go. A time seemingly cut short. While less decent people live on, continuing to put their 2 cents into the world. 

My anger at the injustice of it had been suffocating at times. My guilt and shame for not having done more to ease that suffering was equally damaging. Sadness at opportunities and blessings that she would never see or realize made me sick. 

I would swollow these feelings like bad food.  And use running to burn them off. And avoidance when I couldn't. 

Little by little I have been working on a thing called gratitude. And I am wondering if this plays a part in my healing. 

During runs, reading, prayer, quietness, my own brokenness of late, I have been able to reflect on what I do have. While it doesn't take away that which is broken, it refocuses my perspective. 

What  am I talking about, right?

Though injured and unable run for a while, I can walk. I am thankful for that. For a healthy child. While on leave and receiving new clients I must refer out, I can refer them to people I trust and have a beautiful reason to be on leave. Though the weather is turning cold, the trees are ablaze with color. 

Can I see the beauty?

Is there beauty in death?

No. 
And yes. 

Which do I choose to focus on. 

My mom's death was unjust. 

It was also beautiful. 

I can't tell you the number of times she spoke of her own longing to see her mother again. Some 50 years passed away. I close my eyes to picture what their reunion might have looked like. 

How many people can you name that accomplished most of their life dreams? And by the age of 60. Or long before. She did. Her simple dreams of having horses, raising kids, pursuing art. 

She held no bitterness. Had no relationships that she did not try to repair. No worldly regrets. 

Her faith was strong. She wasn't afraid of what was next. She had peace about it. She didn't fight death. Only the limitations of not being able to be productive. 

I am filled with happy childhood memories while in her charge. 

Aren't these things beautiful. It has a thread running through them of peace. And I feel like that is what we are all longing for. 

If she had peace about it, why shouldn't I one day? 

And I speak of it as "one day". I am not there yet. I don't know if I ever will. And I think it will be a daily commitment to try. But is that not also what she would desire for me? 
I am making steps. And it feels a bit lighter. 

Anger can be a heavy load to bear. 

Can gratitude be one of the things we can use to ease that burden? I am beginning to believe so. 

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