Friday, August 13, 2010

Remembering to Be Grateful

Would you believe it is after 11 am, and I just woke up?  That's how burned out I am at this point.  I realized it has been over a month since I used a burnout day, and believe me, today's was much needed.  Yesterday, two of our ladies got into a fistfight because one claimed the other stole her wallet.  Well, ya know what?  She did, but I'm getting far too old for the screaming and these physical altercations.  Not that I was physically in the fight, but try calming down two ex 'ladies of the street' who are hell bent on kicking the sh.. out of each other.  Oh, well, all was not so bad yesterday...

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

 --Ralph Waldo Emerson--

...for yesterday was hubby's birthday. He was 56, a few years younger than I.  His birthday is always such a special day for us because there was a time that we didn't think he'd live to see another. It is hard to believe that it has been almost twenty years since he lay in that hospital bed, wasting close to death....and as I remember clearly how I stood there, watching as his body withered away, wondering why.  Why was this happening to us?  We'd had so little time together, and after so many different painful, destructive, and unhappy relationships, I wondered what we had done to deserve this.  Oh, I know, the rational part of me said that bad things happen to good people all the time; that I was not being 'picked on'. Pain and sorrow are a part of this world...they help us to grow. But, alas, I wasn't ready.

Everyone except his mother and the sister I get along with told me that I had to accept and to let him go, that I was in denial...and perhaps I might need some counseling,...but something within, that inner voice deep within was telling me, "No, it is not his time.  You cannot not let him go."  It was then that I decided that I was going to fight back; I wasn't going to let him go, that there WAS hope... and that hope that birthed itself within me, radiated from my body and instilled a new desire for life into him.  I will never forget the day that I raced into the room, out of breath because I ran to the hospital, anxious to spend my time with him...every moment was so precious.  And, when I stepped into the room, there he was sitting up, looking stronger than he had in days.  "I ate today," he said, and I began to cry because only a few days before I had never thought he would eat again...and we were both so grateful that we cried together.
While there’s life, there’s hope.
--Marcus Tullius Cicero--
Hope and gratitude...two magnificent feelings that have become illusive to many people. It is always the simple things in life that so difficult for us to do?  I mean the small things, like….. being grateful. Is it because it may not really be so simple?  I'm sure that, like me, when you were young, you heard your parents say, "be grateful for what you have. There are those in this world that would do anything who are going to bed hungry tonight."  And as small children, that was something beyond our understanding for at that time in our lives, our whole world revolved around us. But, the truth be told, being grateful is not so easy. Why? Maybe because it requires us to be happy with what we have been given rather than what we wanted.

When you wake up and see the rays of the morning sun beaming through your window, how do you feel?  Do you feel grateful for another day, or do you instead focus on the multitude of things you have to accomplish before the sun slips away? It is so easy to forget all we have to be thankful for when life becomes hectic and chaotic.   We forget that many of the simple things in life can be reasons for being grateful--our health, family, friends, our livelihood. These are often the things that we tend to take for granted...that is, until they are brought to our attention or taken away.

Remembering to be grateful daily for one's health, family, friends, a job during a recession, having a roof over one's head and food on the table is a good way to start living with gratitude. I've learned a lot over these years in dealing with hubby's illness. Yes, hubby and I still live with the threat of a terminal illness hanging over our heads, and each time I see him 'under the weather' my heart begins to sink, but these years have been a gift, a blessing...something that I will forever cherish.  

Outside, the rain sometimes comes down so hard, we have to talk louder, and it feels like a miracle that the roof holds.  It makes for a coziness and a gratefulness, too, that you have the choice to not be out in it.  You can sit at the table and look out the window and not have to feel what you see.--Elizabeth Berg

What are you grateful for today?


  1. Beautiful post, Mary! Enjoy your day off! And then the weekend!

  2. I am grateful for my family and friends.

    Tell your husband that I said Happy Birthday. It sounds like it is definately a day to celebrate and hold dear.



  3. happy birthday to Hubby, i'm glad he made it through his illness :)
    I'm grateful for my family and pretty well the same thing you listed .

  4. Love Happy Endings. :0)

    Wishing you a rested and fullfilled long weekend.
    Happy belated birthday to your hubby.

  5. Happy birthday to your husband - hope your weekend is peaceful and calm xoxo

  6. You must have really needed the sleep to sleep until almost eleven. Have you ever thought about writing a book about your life at work? The things that you must see and hear every day would make a great read. Happy belated Birthday to your hubby! I as so grateful for everything I have! A wonderful reminder to take nothing for granted, nothing. Wishing you a tranquil weekend!


  7. A belated Happy Birthday, to your husband!

    For what am I grateful? For so many things, of course. But one pops into my mind, immediately...

    That I can still shake off the little dark cloud which tries to perch on my shoulder, constantly. The cloud whispering; "You're old and your time is getting shorter and shorter."

    Well of course, the little black cloud is speaking truth! So I can't dismiss its words, as silliness or as false. Would be easier, if I could. But...

    Nope. 'Tis so!

    So, what to do about that constant little black cloud, following me around and always trying "to rain on my parade"?

    Accept reality, but shake the black cloud of sadness, off! Shake off, dwelling on the message. Shake off viewing all of life, through this gray veil of sadness.

    Guess that doesn't sound like much of a quest. Just dismissing a constant thought. But believe me, it is a job. A quest. A constant battle. So while I can still fight the good fight, I am grateful!

    Can anyone imagine someone like Tasha Tudor, allowing such a little black cloud to perch on her shoulder for long????? NOPE! :-) Guess my gut feeling just showed me, a wonderful role model. Dear Tasha. Must get out my books on her! And find more, in the library. And immerse myself in her down-to-earth views. :-)

    Thank you Dear Mary! You have no idea, how troublesome this dealing with my little black cloud, has become! Your post, brought it front and center, and made me think of an antidote.

    So, I'm grateful for YOU, too!!!!!!!!

    Gentle hugs...