Every morning I wake up and find myself saying, “This is it! This is my life now!” It is a reoccurring realization that leaves a sobering mark on each of my days as I continue to learn how to live without my “Buddy Boo”.
This morning was no different. I woke up with the same thoughts, staggered downstairs while still emerging from my deep sleep and announced to Drake, who was sitting at the dining room table journaling, “I’m not doing well today. I am so down.”
Not at all surprised by this common declaration that regularly comes looming from both of our lips, Drake responded with deep empathy, “I’m sorry,” as he got up from his chair to offer me a hug.
And so another day of grief and sorrow had begun.
But as I stumbled into the bathroom to try to pull myself together for the day, I noticed our clogged sink, and the cloudy, stagnant water that filled the basin. Yet instead of it being a source of frustration or discouragement, it gave me a boost; it reminded me of the group of people, who for the most part we don’t even know, that have offered to deep clean and do handy-work around our home this weekend. I was completely overwhelmed with gratitude at the thought.
As I pondered their incredible gift to us, which includes a get-away to Catalina Island, my down-trodden heart began to lift. Recognizing the impact these notions of thanksgiving were having on my soul, I began an exercise in gratitude. I deliberately turned my thoughts toward the numerous blessings we have been experiencing in, and often because of, our loss.
I thought of my friend “B” who took the initiative to bring us three amazing meals this last week as we’ve walked the anniversary of Jud’s death. I thought of our trip to Disneyland on Friday due to the generosity of people near and far who pitched in to buy us annual passes to the “Happiest Place on Earth.” I thought of the “I’m a Bud of Jud the Stud” buttons worn by the Vanguard University community. I thought of our grief counselor who has been meeting with us for months without ever asking for a dime.
The list went on and on. Along with all the tangible expressions of support, I was moved to consider the daily blessings in my life: an incredible hubby, the joy of Jessie, our wonderful home, the beautiful park outside our windows, food on the table, an amazing church community, and of course, our remarkable little boy that is constantly shaping our lives.
As I practiced the discipline of gratitude, I noticed my outlook on the day, though still touched by sorrow, began to brighten.
Yes, our grief is severe. Yes, life can be extremely difficult. Yes, the journey toward wholeness can be long and hard. But, I was reminded today how much a grateful heart can shine light in even the darkest of moments.