When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton
For the rest of November, I’m going to take for gratitude some of those things I often take for granted — an entire alphabet’s worth! Since today is the tenth day of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “J” things. Well, one “J” thing.
I am especially grateful for:
Jeff. Although I never took Jeff — my life mate/soul mate — for granted, somehow I always took for granted that we’d be together. Even while he was dying, I took for granted that such was the way things always would be — he dying, me struggling to live. And even at the end, I took for granted that somehow he’d still be in my life, as if he would be in another room, perhaps. After he took his last breath, I was stunned by the absolute feeling of “goneness” I felt. It wasn’t as if he were in another room. It was as if an immense crater had been dug out of my life, my heart, my soul, leaving behind . . . nothing.
Even though I don’t feel him in my life any more, even though I can barely remember what our shared life was like, I always take him for gratitude. I am grateful I knew him, grateful (and honored) that he shared his life and death with me, grateful I once was so connected to another human being that his death left a hole in my life that will never be filled. I am grateful for every shared smile, every hug, every act of caring. I am grateful I found someone who understood me and knew what I meant when I spoke.
I am grateful for our electric conversations that lasted hours, days, a lifetime. We didn’t try to convince the other of our position — we each brought truth and thought to the conversation, and together we created a greater reality. There was no reason to argue — it was never about his opinion versus mine. It was about the truth — the truth as far as we could reconstruct it together. And oh, I am so grateful for that truth!
I am grateful for the time he spent with me. I am grateful for the movies we watched together, the books we shared, the ideas we developed, the businesses we created. I am grateful he stayed with me as long as possible, long enough to say everything that needed to be said.
I am grateful he set me free. I might have had to spend the rest of my years caring for a helpless invalid, but he left my life as quickly and as gracefully as he entered — between one heartbeat and the next.
I am even grateful he set me on my current path. He once told me it bothered him that because of his illness and our constrained lives, I’d lost the spontaneity I once had (ironically, that spontaneity had come from the security his presence engendered in me). I am now trying to get back that spontaneity, and will spend the rest of my life as untethered as possible.
I am grateful I once was loved. I am grateful I loved.
I am grateful that Jeff was such a major part of my life.
So, what “J” things are you taking for gratitude today?
Taking “A” Things With Gratitude, Taking “B” Things With Gratitude, Taking “C” Things With Gratitude,Taking “D” Things With Gratitude, Taking “E” Things With Gratitude, Taking “F” Things With Gratitude, Taking “G” Things With Gratitude, Taking “H” Things With Gratitude, Taking “I” Things With Gratitude
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.