According to Webster gratitude means simply, the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Since the beginning of March the world became a less grateful place to be. And I mean all of it. Not just the USA. Which is currently a giant uncontained dumpster fire. This is not about the giant dumpster fire going on outside right now though.
One of the things my Mom loved to do, more than anything in the world, was to send people handwritten cards, notes. To celebrate holidays, birthdays, births, weddings, babies, loss, you name it, she celebrated or consoled her receiver. Some of you were probably lucky enough to receive them. If you have a particular memory of one or something my Mom may have written you, feel free to share. Those stories help me heal.
I am not sure when she stopped sending cards but my Sister and I found an entire tote full of them when we were going through her things, just waiting to be written…so I know in my heart had she felt better, they would have never stopped.
As a way to honor her, I have started writing letters myself. They are being sent to people I am grateful for. People who have changed my life in one way or another. Maybe you taught me a lesson, maybe you were there for me at an important moment, maybe you meant something to my parents or siblings…I don’t know who it will be or why or when the inspiration will strike me, they come as they come. But one of my “steps” in healing has been to embrace this. To let her come through me in that process and carry on something that was extremely important to her. To walk a mile in her moccasins. In the day and age that she was writing them we did not have the technology we have today so she NEVER knew unless she ran in to you in person, if you had received the note and how it made you feel. I have the luxury of realizing when someone gets mine and it will help me heal greatly, knowing they know that at that moment I was thinking about them.
When you are sad, when you are down, when you feel lost, the easiest thing in the entire world to lose is gratitude. Because honestly, you have to really dig to find the those things when you are in the pits of grief. It is not easy to find them. I am hoping this will help. I am hoping that I start becoming a better human being and showing it. Not just to people I love, but to the Earth, animals, people a lot less fortunate than myself.
The world became a different place while my Mom was dying. I came out of the moment, that loss, into a completely foreign land. Quarantine. For 9 months I have been working from home, barely doing much besides getting groceries or supplies. I am in need, desperate need, of human physical connection, I think we all are. But I have MAJOR anxiety when I do go out in public, not because I have to wear a mask, I will do my part. I have anxiety because I have seen very few people since my Mom died. I have only talked to people technologically. Yesterday I had to run to the store and I ran in to a young man I went to school with. We were not friends per se, but friendly, grew up in the same town. Our mothers were both well loved. He said “Hi Tiffany, how are you?” I said “I am OK how are you?” “OK” he responded and we moved on because you know, germs, too close, not six feet away move move move. I was rounding a corner and he hollered back, “Tiffany,” I turned back and with the most sincere look I could see in a humans eyes behind a mask, he said, “I just wanted you to know I am so sorry about your Mom. I know she meant a lot to you.” I said “thank you, that means a lot to me, and I know you understand what this feels like, having lost your own Mom.” He said “no Tiffany, I do not, I do not know what you feel like, because I still have my Dad. And I am just really sorry about all of it.”
Why was that important? Because he is the first human I have seen outside since it happened that has stopped me and said this. I was grateful for this exchange. I expressed my gratitude in that moment, telling him how much it meant to me that he stopped me to acknowledge this thing, this brutal horrible thing that has completely devastated me. He was right, he could not possibly know what it feels like to have the two people responsible for giving me life gone. I did not let him go though without expressing my gratitude and that, that I think is a huge step in the direction of healing. Saying thank you in the moment you mean it.