person holding heart shaped bread

These past months, I’ve been anything but outright grateful. Perhaps it wasn’t that bad. Close enough.

You see, I didn’t plan on Trump being elected or that the housing market would be so hot in Seattle that it would be challenging on multiple fronts. I also knew our market would cool eventually and hoped it wouldn’t happen so quickly or even right now, creating a whole new environment where adjustment and understanding demands a U-turn.

What else? Just about a year ago my father, who was 94, fell and broke his hip. Already angry at the course of life, apparently beyond his control, his frailty and congestive heart failure didn’t allow him to even slightly heal. Within 3 months, in early January of this year, his body quit. I knew Daddy’s fall would start the clock on the remaining days of his life. Yet, I wasn’t prepared for the unchartered path of grief ahead that still grabs me by the throat from time to time.

I hadn’t reckoned on the stock market losing all its gains for the year, once again affecting our retirement investments, or our home losing significant equity because of the local cool-down or that a sense of malaise and hopelessness would creep into my psyche.

With all of that happy news (sarcasm), I actually felt gratitude for all the work being done on the ground and for all the millions of people who showed up to vote in the Blue Wave on November 6th. I did my part, mostly on social media, but I also voted, marched, did a little bit of phone-banking and talked up the election whenever and wherever I could. I may do more in the future, but I definitely feel more hopeful for democracy today. Mostly, I’m excited to watch a “check” on the White House that Congress can now provide, as it should’ve been doing all along. There’s so much more to do to build a country the majority of Americans want to live in, but a shining point of hope has erupted.

I’m grateful to be 10 months down that harsh road of grief. Today, I have tender memories of my father mixed with the pitiful ones. That’s progress considering how much I’ve been knocked about. It seems I may be persistent enough after all. I’ve acquired a more sincere compassion for others who’ve also experienced the loss of a parent or loved one in 2018. We’re traveling this path together even though we may not be alongside those friends. Time brings more hope.

dsc_0049.jpgToday, my husband and I celebrate 3 years married. We’re going for an excellent Italian dinner (according to friends…and reviews) at The Pink Door. It’s a day made for gratitude. We have our challenges, like any couple, but we also have our little rituals, a lot of laughs even when the world seems dire and a basket of options that we’ve just begun to consider. New home? Next travel spots? Where to retire? What to bake next? Who gets to clean the bathroom this week? Life is rather simple even though it offers unchartered complexities. Together, Roger and I can cobble together a hopeful future.

DSC_0261One of the best parts? We have Sophie, our little rescue pup who really rescues us most days. She’s delightfully uncomplicated, needing only kisses and scratches. We get to feed, bathe, comfort and chase her around our tiny house…every day. She loves it. We do, too. Life without Sophie would feel less bearable somehow. She is hope on four legs.

Let this be a time for gratitude. Small victories, surprises met, journeys begun, journeys ended. We can contemplate the future, even plan for what we want, yet, as they say, ad nauseum, all we have is today. At the end of the day, write down 10 reasons for why you feel grateful. It gives sustenance to life.

Love those who are part of your life. Go a step further. Tell them you’re grateful for their love. Hug your pets. Reach for the life you want. Don’t give up. Do what makes you happy. Smile more. I think I’ll take my own advice more seriously…because where’s there’s love, there’s hope.

Cultivate the Healing Power of Gratitude

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