Day 35: Gratitude for Life’s Lessons

I am grateful for gentle reminders and kick-in-the-pants reminders of the beauty of our precious lives. It’s normal that we  take for granted each breath but it’s also good to stop occasionally and offer gratitude for the lesson’s both sweet and bitter life spoons into our mouths.

IMG_2055Several years ago, an author offered me advice on her blog. This kindness helped propel me to the place I am at today: writing full-time, finishing my edits and polishing two other books. I’ve written three books and seriously damaged a few others that I am using as stepping-stones. I owe this woman whom I’ve never met, a big thank you. She probably doesn’t even remember this because she is kind and helpful to everyone, I was just one of many struggling writers for whom she gave encouragement.

She recently lost her husband and it breaks my heart. Losing my first husband was a pain that is so unique and so intense, I hate that anyone should know it. I am so happy for her that she is surrounded by friends and family who wrapped her in love and memories. Online everyone is sending their love and she is accepting it all with grace and dignity.

What tore me up was the flip-side, another talented, successful actor lost his life to drugs. The outpouring of grief for this ‘tragedy’ has me feeling cynical. To have it all and the promise of so much more, yet to toss it away on heroin is such a bitter waste. It’s really too bad his toss-away life couldn’t have gone to Nancy Naigle’s husband.

I’m sorry if this sounds heartless but I felt this way when my first husband was buried and I had to face my alcoholic father’s  jealousy of the attention I was getting as a ‘poor grieving widow’. Luckily I was also surrounded by friends who cared and an aunt and uncle who truly loved me. When I turned to leave the funeral, clutching the flag to my chest, I saw in the back standing in the hot Virginia sun a cluster of scientists still wearing their white lab coats. I knew they wore their lab coats for me and it meant so much more to me than anything.  If you have a friend or even an acquaintance who has suffered a loss and you are wondering if it would make a difference if you went to the funeral, trust me, it does. Maybe, they’ll never say thank you but believe me, that glimpse of you in the back, that hug, those comforting words… they mean so much!