Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gratitude and Grief

As we approach the National day of thanks, my mind drifts back to my first Thanksgiving without Phil. The kids and I headed out to my mom and dad's house, and dutifully began the feast preparations...fast forward to two hours later when my sisters and I were sitting on the couch crying our eyes out over the lyrics of a song! The world was all wrong, and happy seemed a foreign state of being.

The interesting thing is, that while being happy seemed completely out of reach, being grateful was an every day occurrence. I will never forget the overwhelming feeling of gratitude that kept me afloat during those early days of pain and loss. Each time I needed something, someone was there to fill that need. When I wanted to sit and cry, there was always a shoulder available to cry on. Looking around at my children, I could not help but be grateful for the blessing they are in my life. Gratitude and grief are not mutually exclusive concepts. In fact, if you look closely you may find that one leads to the other in a very unexpected way. Perhaps that is because just one ray of sunshine makes such an impact on the complete darkness of loss.

Three years have passed since Phil's death, and his absence is still felt around the Thanksgiving Day table. But added to my list of things to be grateful for is the fact that Phil's presence is also felt around the table, and in the hearts of the many people who knew and loved him. I am truly grateful to have been his wife, and I count his memory as one of my most treasured blessings.

I wish each of you a day filled with gratitude, and a heart full of memories from which you can never be parted.

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