I don't think any of us are as grateful as we should be. We get frustrated by the small things in life (things like being on hold with my son's pediatrician every time for 15+ minutes) instead of maintaining perspective. It's easy to get impatient with my giant dog for nearly stepping on the baby instead of being grateful that he loves my son so much. It's easy to let the death of my father define my life in a negative way instead of it resulting in an inventory of the myriad blessings my father gave me for which I am thankful.
When someone close to you dies it is a rare opportunity to appreciate how good and thoughtful people really are. My dad's funeral was in my hometown (Hundred, West Virginia), about an hour from where my parents have lived the last decade. I saw friends I haven't seen in twenty years. I saw family I haven't seen in years. I spent time with my favorite teachers. My high school FFA advisor described me as a "powerhouse" to my husband. I will never let my husband forget it. My incredible best friend flew in from Austin, TX to be there for me, and I'm reminded again how lucky I am to have her. The time of abject grief was also weirdly wonderful. So many people love my dad. So many people love his wife and the children he and my mom so lovingly and painstakingly raised. My being called a powerhouse (best compliment ever!) is a testament to the hard work of my parents. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my mom, my siblings, their spouses and my niece and nephew. Knowing that Dad would've loved us all being together made my broken heart happy.
|Ironic how the worst days can still be the most beautiful.|
|Hanging out with my siblings and remembering our super active dad.|
In a time of grief I've discovered there is also grace. In a time of sadness there is also joy. My dad has been gone for two weeks, and I'm still remarkably sad. I don't know when/if that sadness goes away. But I'm also grateful for the love I've felt these last few weeks. I'm happy for the extra time I got with my dad before his surgery. I'm thankful for my mother's strength and stoicism during this time. Life is beautiful. Even death, in a completely screwed up way, is beautiful.
A few years ago a friend got me a little box I keep on a shelf in my bathroom. It has a quote from Robert Brault on it: "Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." I have a really healthy perspective right now that is helping me focus on priorities and what's really important in life. I am concentrating every day on those little things and on gratitude. Thank you, Dad, for this focus. I know you enjoyed those every day little things. As usual I'm following your lead.