Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A journal of gratitude...

It is fall! Time for some Thanksgiving!
We are now well into October 2014 and Thanksgiving is almost here. I haven't written a blog since July - partly because I was busy and then I had computer issues and I just felt like, what do I have to say? Well, I have decided I need to express my gratitude, for so many things!

It is easy to go through life thinking: What's next? How come this happened to me? What did I do to deserve this? How come it is easy for everyone but me? Well, that is not the best attitude to move forward and although life has certainly dealt me some tragic and trying situations, I think I have finally learned to forgive, forget, move on and be grateful.

Many years ago Oprah  said - write down 5 things a day that you are grateful for. I tried it, I tried to think about what was good in my day, but I have to be honest, my gratitude journal didn't feel very authentic or real. Having said that, changing my life, my expectations and realizing that I don't need to be like other people or achieve what they have - has made me actually feel appreciative. So, today, I am going to express some of that gratitude. (Please feel free to stop reading or tune out if I am now boring you...)
7/7/7 Wedding Day
  1. I am grateful for the opportunity to relive my life - for the chance to start fresh, reaffirm what is important, move past the fear and create my own happiness. It was almost 6 years ago now that Len and I discussed the possibility of moving to the Maritime's - property was cheaper and I could "retire". Yes, it was scary but exciting. No, it hasn't been easy - but we have done it and surpassed many of the challenges. In order to do that we had to determine what was/wasn't important, what could we change, what do we need vs. what do we want and can we get through this together? It took work and a lot of adjusting and learning but, it seems to be working. There have been many times where we thought we wouldn't make it and a few when we were ready to give up on our new life and sometimes even, on each other.. I am grateful for "my handsome" and his support and unconditional love for me. 
  2. I am grateful for my siblings - we are not always as close as we could be and we live across the country - well most of them are in Alberta/BC except for me, but they help build me up - even though they probably don't realize it. My oldest brother and his wife dropped everything almost 10 years ago to be by my side and help me and my children when we needed it most. 
    My brothers and I - Spring 2014
    My family - 1987 - Better times
    I would have said we were both living our own lives but the need for family in times of crisis was apparent to me when they stood by me in every way they could. I can never say thank you enough for that. So when my brother got very ill last spring, I realized how much I loved him, yes I knew I did, but it wasn't something we expressed a lot. As I watched him and his wife of 25 years work through a hard time, I knew that I wanted that closeness to increase. I am so thankful that he has pulled through and I hope that we will remain closer and in touch. My youngest brother and I have always had a different relationship, I suppose in some ways we bonded more, he was my little brother and I adored him him when he was young. The past year I feel that I have been able to offer him love and support and he has given the same to me. I can never tell him how much that closeness means to me. I know his hugs and love helped me as we watched our Dad laying sick and our Mom struggling through it. I look forward to seeing them both very soon. I also have two sisters that I send hope, love and the wish for a bright future too. No matter what lays in the past, we are family and had much love once. It is easy to drift apart as we build our little worlds and get through each day, so to all my siblings - thank you for the good memories! 

  3. I am grateful for my children. The two people who have given me strength and courage when I only wanted to escape the reality of the world. I am proud of the women they are becoming as they move forward in their lives. It was hard to watch my oldest move away, but it was ok because it was the right thing for her. I don't believe making children feel as though they owe you something, or telling them you can't live without them or you would miss them too much is good for them or helpful. I think that teaching them to learn their independence, make their mistakes and carve their future - is the way to allow them to feel free.
    Me and my babies - 2012
    Of course I miss my daughter but she is living her life, learning what is important to her and what is superficial. I also love the opportunity of having my youngest to myself and to get to have those moments and laughter and time together. I think we all feel empowered with our new relationships. I am also grateful for the love and acceptance from my husband's children - they have been so kind to me and being a "grandma" although step has been such fun when I see them all! 
  4. I am grateful for my friends - old and new. This past summer one of my dearest friends and her husband came to see me. The timing was perfect - life had slowed down and we were able to just enjoy each other and see that we had both past our sadness and moved on to our joy. We were allowed the moments to laugh, share and to each know we had taken the right paths. I also have another friend, who has been by my side since I was 3 years old. My very first memory is of her - when I walked with my mom to the mail box and we met her and her mom - 45 years ago - we bonded and although we have each lived our own lives we have always stayed in touch. She has reached out to me in a way that I can never truly show my thankfulness - I love you! I want to thank my extended family for their friendship - cousins, aunts, uncles - people who have accompanied down my path to thankfulness in the past few years - I am so glad to have you all in my life! I shall see many of you, very soon!
  5. Finally, I am grateful for my parents. Two people who have had little - had much - had joy - had sorrow and now live through their final days together.
    Me & Mom 2014
    My parents have made many choices that I know they wish they could change - but no matter what has happened, they have always loved each other. It is heartbreaking, watching my father as he lay there, dying and knowing that my mom struggles with the pain, with the guilt for not doing some things differently and in her faith - knowing that she will be with him again. I pray she is right, that they will be two whole people again, a man that adored his wife - while not always able to show it and a wife who's eyes light up when seeing him. My dad has not always been an easy man to live with or be around but he always loved us and my mom. He was so excited to do things for her such as surprise elegant jewellery, 60 roses on her 60th birthday, little things to enchant her. 
    Me and my Dad - Spring 2014
    No, their almost 52 years together has not been perfect, but who's has? The main thing is the love that they shared and still do share. It is painful to watch Dad deteriorate and to push Mom away, but I believe that is also his attempt to help her, he doesn't want to be in the state he is or has been and he wants her to continue to live and he doesn't want to be her burden. I am grateful for the opportunity that I had last spring when I spent weeks by his side and very thankful that I am headed there again. Dad, you may be gone by the time I get there I don't know, but I love you and always will and yes, we WILL take care of Mom! 
So, gratitude, I feel it through my core, no life never gave me what I though it should but I learned that we only get what make of it. I am making it right now and I am grateful for the people I love and who surround me in my world - biological family and the family that I have earned through friendship and trust.


jockos said...

Thank You Sarah - For these WONDERFUL Blogg's,I read every word,you keep on writing & I will keep on reading - LOVE EVERY WORD.

...Sarah Sherman said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. I am glad that what I have written has touched you. Take care!