Having a practice of gratitude requires discipline; it means that you do it consistently, even when you don't feel like it or don't have time or are not even feeling particularly grateful. It is especially useful when outside circumstances are less than ideal and you are struggling. It is helpful to have a record of the "good stuff" when things are difficult and it's hard to remember the good.
I began my Gratitude Practice in June of 2015 at a particularly challenging time in my life. I was back to having migraines every day and was exhausted and had brain fog that I couldn't shake. I discovered 6 weeks later that the pharmacy had cut my dosage of thyroid medication in half when it did the conversion math to generic meds; and so I was grateful with that discovery; and how much better I felt back on my proper dose. It made feeling better even easier!
Prior to finding out about my thyroid meds, I thought, "I gotta do something, here," as I was in the Pit of Despair. So I got one of my pretty little A6-sized journals that I'd been hoarding, and started a separate, dedicated journal of all the good stuff. Paraphrasing Victor Frankl, outside circumstances don't have to dictate the inner landscape of your attitude or feelings.
What I didn't realize at the time, was that I was also documenting the last 5 months of my life with Mum. I spent almost every evening with her, and in my journal I wrote seemingly mundane things like, "Tonight, Mum made soft-boiled eggs and soldiers with knobby greens (Brussel sprouts)."
|Eggs and soldiers.|
It was after Mum's car accident that I was astonished by the power of a Gratitude Journal to keep me grounded and sane. By then, gratitude had become a daily ritual and habit. My sibs and I took shifts and stayed with Mum at the hospital; I stayed til 10p and then would drive home.
As I lay snuggled up with Beagle-boy Buddy at the end of a long day, I would write things like, "I am so grateful that Mum told the nurses she had bossy daughters," because it meant she still had some spunk. I was grateful for the nurses and then later, Hospice, that brought her home where she wanted to be. I was grateful that she finally got to have a cuppa tea when she got settled into bed in her flat.
|One of those ordinary days. There's her favourite tea cup, too. |
For all of that, I am grateful.
|Mum looking snazzy. :-)|
She was typically British with a stiff upper lip, and would roll her eyes if things got too sappy or sentimental. But when we were cleaning out her flat, I found a box, tucked away, that had all the cards and letters friends and fam had written her. And in there, she had printed out the first Mother's Day post I did for her.
It has been 3 years since she died. I didn't know how I would get thru those first few months; but somehow, the months have turned into years. I think of her everyday, but now I can smile. I like to think that somewhere, she is smiling down on us, too. At Thanksgiving, we went to Pioneer Sister's new seafood restaurant, Crabby Maggie's. It felt like the first family gathering that didn't have a gaping hole where Mum should be. It was joyful and fun and great to spend time with the whole fam. In addition to the traditional T-day fare, we started off with trays of JUMBO shrimp. After that, as the regular food was dished out, nephew Ro said, "I was told there would be crab legs." My BIL said, "You want crab legs? You got crab legs!" And a few minutes later out came a tray of giant ones.
My niece has been playing violin for a couple years now. She played Bach's third Brandenburg and Chiro-sis and I just sat there and wept, she was so good! Mum would be so proud of her! Mum played violin at her age and I imagine that she looked very much like my niece, with her red hair swinging as she swayed with the music. It was so sweet and it was such a BEAUTIFUL day. And it made me so grateful for our family and to be part of Queen Anne's Clan.
I continue to be Anne Holliday's daughter; and so GRATEFUL to be so. :-)