Gratitude, Grief, and Grace

This won’t be the post I expected to be writing this weekend. I had intended to wax poetic on finding grace through gratitude and how consciously and consistently focusing on gratitude has changed my life, bringing more moments of grace. To share in detail my stories of gratitude lists and bringing more of what I’m grateful for into my life. In short, like attracts like, so focusing on what you are grateful for attracts more for you to be grateful for, which makes you even more grateful, which attracts more, good stuff, and so on, and so on. And life is very, very good.

During the time I thought I’d be doing all of this awesome writing about gratitude and grace, grief walked in the door. This weekend, my Aunt Audrey was called home to God, back to the Light, and I’ve been feeling more grief than gratitude.

This happens in life. Despite our best intentions, despite getting closer and closer to light, having positive thoughts, doing our affirmations and daily gratitude lists, sometimes grief drops in for a visit. And we ask why. Why now? Why this person? Why this way? We never have time for grief in our busy lives. But grief demands time. Grief disrupts your busy-ness and makes you pay attention. It stops you in your tracks.

From an aerial view, this is just another curve on the map, a bump in the path. Closer up, it looks pretty bumpy, with a lot of rocks, extending over mountains and into valleys. But we continue walking. And even though the road is tough, we still see the stars at night and an occasional pretty rock. The sun keeps shining and the moon casts a mysterious light.

I do not walk this particular path alone. I am blessed with dear friends who walking beside me, a comfort by their presence. I walk this road with my family and friends of my aunt and uncle, as we all gather over the next couple of days to say goodbye. As we walk together, we share stories. Remember the time when, remember how she used to, …

I remember her laugh and that she curled my hair for my brother’s wedding. I remember the times I spent with just Aunt Audrey and my Mom – the trip to Mexico, the outlets in Maine. I remember the many, many holiday and other celebrations that she hosted. I remember she is easy to talk to and accepts people the way they are.

The memories bring back gratitude. Gratitude for the times we shared, gratitude for her presence in my life. As the focus shifts, the tears dry and smiles appear. The road is still rocky, but we start to notice the sparkly rocks, the deer in the distance, the sun and moon. We feel gratitude for these things and there is more. We are on this journey together, enjoying our time together, enjoying our shared memories. Grace is in those moments, the shiny rocks and the sun, each smile, and the memories. In these perfect moments of grace, we are all together in paradise. She is with us.

This will be the first gathering in a long time that Aunt Audrey will not be hosting and we will miss her in her human form. But she will be with us, an honored guest.

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