Gratitude…..for it all

It is the day after Thanksgiving, the day we are reminded to be grateful for all the blessings that we have. And, indeed, I am very grateful …..for it all.

Yesterday, Thanksgiving Day, I chose to be alone. I have no family that I am in touch with, and even though some dear friends invited me over, I really felt the call to be in solitude and allow space for all that was going on inside me. I visited the mausoleum where I honor my mother and father….and let the tears flow freely. That, at least, is one place that public tears don’t seem to cause as much discomfort in others…. And I sat there for a while…..nodding heads to acknowledge all those visiting those that they had lost….silent companions in our shared grief.

I also gave thanks for everything in my life. Sometimes this can be more of a challenge….like giving thanks for the inevitable pain and grief that comes along as part of life. Grief over those we have lost, both human and four legged (I have lost many close friends, family, and beloved pets over the past few years…). Grief over the losses that come along with aging – losing those close to us, losing our youth and all that comes with that, dealing with age related changes that come along, loss of our illusion of power and immortality that can sometimes be part of our youth, loss of a sense of a future ahead of us……so many losses…..

I am also dealing with the loss of an online relationship that may or may not have been a scam…..but the loss is real. The loss is painful. The loss of the attention, the sweet words that were written to me that reminded me of parts of myself that had been dormant for a while…the loss of the feeling of being wanted …..(yes, this is still very much alive at my age…)….the loss of a hope of being held again and touched again and loved passionately again. It doesn’t matter if this was real or not…..the feelings in me were (and are) very real and I need to acknowledge them and the loss of what awakened those in me once again…..the emptiness and aloneness and sadness that I feel are very real and need to be acknowledged.

And I am working to realize that I need and want to be grateful for all these feelings…..because they are part of being alive and human…they are part of this journey that we are all on. I let this person into my heart, which is why the fears got triggered and I reacted out of those fears, which pushed him away……(see previous post for details)…..But my heart had been opened again. And it hurts. A lot. And, deep down, I am grateful for the ability to still feel that, to still be able to have a heart that lets someone else in….for still being very much alive. There is time enough to be dead to all feelings when we are dead and gone. But, for now, we are still alive. Still here. Still willing to be foolish and vulnerable and make mistakes….and still willing to learn. I am too much in the midst of the grief to be able to name all the lessons learned yet, but I know that there are lessons to learn from this. And I will work to learn those lessons….and to grow.

Life has joy and pain – same coin, different sides. Life has ups and downs, comes with delightful surprises and excruciatingly painful losses. We have such capacity for emotion and feeling in us….what a gift that this is. If I feel my pain (and I am in no way saying that this is fun in any way….) then I can be more open to your pain and sit beside you in quiet understanding and compassion. But I must acknowledge my own pain, allow myself my own compassion and forgiveness and understanding – in order to truly be able to be with you and your pain.

As I sat crying in the mausoleum, I looked around (there are new “residents” each time that I visit, of course)…..and I thought to myself…..why wouldn’t I want to welcome all the feelings that this life brings us? Why wouldn’t I want to be alive while I am still here on this earth? Why wouldn’t I want to share this with others so we can, perhaps for a moment, feel a little less alone? And so, here I sit, the day after Thanksgiving, giving thanks for everything….giving thanks for this precious life, giving thanks for each experience, giving thanks for a heart that can be open and still feel pain and loss, as well as joy and compassion and love. I am hurting right now….and it’s ok. And I am right here beside you if you are hurting too…..you are not alone. You are alive, and you are precious with all your feelings….each and every one of them. They are a gift, as are you.

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