The act of being grateful for what we have is conscious gratitude. This seems impossible after you have experienced a devastating loss. How can you be grateful for what you have when you have lost everything?
It’s a hard question to answer. I have lost my beautiful boy. My hopes and dreams for his life ended in kindergarten. So early. So devastating. I am still angry and broken by this loss. How can I be grateful?
It’s been an active choice to practice conscious gratitude. My training in therapy taught me to take it one goal at a time. Short term goals. Long term goals. Progress is measured and made piece by piece.
Some time in the darkness of the night laying in that hospital bed, I decided to make small short term goals and be grateful when I met them.
Sitting up for 30 minutes in a chair. Pain. Tears. Sweat. Finally check.
Transfers to the chair. To the car. To my wheelchair. Pain. Tears. Sweat. Finally check.
Bending my knee more than 60 degree. Pain. Tears. Screaming. Sweat. Finally check!
Stand for one minute. Now two. Take a step. So on… until I could stand, transfer, walk with assistance, walk without assistance and check!
The act of seeing the small successes helped me build more successs. I was grateful for the small stuff. Now, I have been walking without help for a while. I still look for times to be grateful for the small steps forward.
Driving without having a panic attack.
Falling asleep without the feeling of being thrown through the air.
Singing with my daughter.
It’s small but I’m grateful that I’m here and still healing.
Today, as I was writing this, I got a package. A small package that read “fragile”. I opened it and found a candle that a friend of mine made for me. She took the time to write a note and make this special candle for Zachary. I was moved to tears. It is perfect. I am so thankful for her sweet gift to me.
You see, when you see the small things, you can find beauty in the world after loss. I have experienced so much pain emotionally and physically over the past almost 4 years since the accident. I have been overcome by my loss and overcome by my supportive friends and family who have chosen to come along with me on this journey. The prayers, candles, frozen yogurt, weeping cherry tree, bracelet, flowers, cards, time off donated, dinners, smiles, hugs, messages and so much more lift me up as I face each day. I am beyond overwhelmed by sadness and joy at the same time. Grief and gratitude can exists together and it shows our consciousness to chose to see the light in the darkness. The light of Zachary is my gratitude in this grief journey.