You would think that a death in the family right in the middle of November, with the holidays just about to begin would send my spirit sinking like a stone to the bottom of the ocean but I had watched my husband and his sisters watch their mother suffer for a long time and I was relieved and grateful that all of this suffering could finally end and that she was finally at peace.
It is amazing how when you make yourself look for the good and the positive you will find it and then if you continue in that way, you will find that there is more and more good coming to you. I know that I am very fortunate and I do not know the loss of a parent. I know that there is pain and that there will be grieving and that we need to go through all of that, but finding the good keeps us together and moving forward especially in hard times. There really is so much more good if you look for it.
When all of the people who came to Pat’s funeral got up to share about her, I was amazed at just how well we can do this. Stubborn became strong and independent. Mean became a hard protective exterior and that deep down she had a lot of love. I knew that to be true. She once told me how happy she was that her son and I found each other and she thanked me for loving him. It was a unique moment I remember with her and a rare glimpse into her true heart.
People all agreed that she was a strong remarkable woman who despite her major disabilities and having been dealt a shitty hand in life, still found some joy and happiness in it. She took great pride in her beautiful family, and she was happy with simple things, like the chance to go to someone else’s house sometimes, the holidays and always keeping her mind sharp by reading and doing crosswords and playing games or facebook stalking her daughter in law and who knows who else? She kept that dry wit and fiery competitive spirit that was Pat no matter what she was going through. She was tenacious and fought hard for her life for 40 years! And not only did she fight just to stay alive, but she fought to keep her life her own. Amazing.
I’ve learned many things from her example. I have been given so much and I am so grateful. I will not take any single blessing for granted. I will live the rest of my life giving love, support and encouragement to my family, working hard and being grateful that I can do the work, taking the best care of the healthy and whole body and mind I am so fortunate to have, and helping people in need whenever I am given the gift to do so. I will not feel guilty about taking time for myself. I will not hold on to grudges. I will not hold back love. I will let it out and express feelings of love and appreciation and give encouragement every day to my loved ones. I will give them my trust. If I am down, I will resist the temptation to bring others down with me. Instead, I will reach out for love and support. I will accept and feel my feelings. All of them. I will forgive others when they mess up. I will forgive myself when I mess up, learning and growing from mistakes and always striving for progress. I will take responsibility for my own happiness. I will be compassionate to myself and others. Every single day that I wake up and breathe will be a gift and a blessing and will not be wasted dwelling in discontent, but will be lived to the fullest in gratitude.
As difficult as it was for Pat, she absolutely loved the holidays. She especially loved Christmas decorating with her lights and her tree and her Dickens Village and train set, so I think I can manage to at least put up my wreath tonight. I will light it and remember her Christmas spirit. A wonderful gift. Thank you Pat!