A couple of years ago, I started thinking more intentionally about gratitude. In some ways, that has given me strength and positivity, served as a touchstone in the chaos: yes, my life is crazy, and in that craziness there is so much good. I didn't know what to do with, however, my son's death. When I got stuck in a day of grieving and sorrow, gratitude felt empty and false. I found a book and a process of gratitude that made a big difference in my life: miracle lists. I didn't have to ever be grateful for my son's death. I could, however, be grateful for negative feelings and experiences. I could list out that I was grateful for those feelings and experiences, even if I didn't feel all that grateful in the moment.
This year, I worked through another journaling process that centered on forgiveness and focusing on the good, looking for the gifts that you received from difficult times. My wall went up. Yes, I can forgive and I can find gifts, but not about my baby. That is a cold dark place and it is okay if it stays that way.
I took a gentle walk around that wall and looked at it more closely. Keeping it up and strong and hard felt safe and constant. And yet....what if? What if I could look at my life now four years later and just see what I am grateful for now? What if some of the present good could be seen as a gift thrown over that wall?
Of course, my beautiful children are a gift that I would not have but for all of the experiences and moments that lead up to each of their births. And even in the craziest of times, I am so grateful for those little souls. They are truly gifts in my life, even if the path to those gifts was complicated and challenging.
And so I've opened a little door in that wall. A ray of light can shine through into the cold dark place. I'm not sure I can celebrate death itself, not yet, but in finding that door, I'm moving towards celebration of life. All of the moments in life that brought me here today. All of my babies are gifts and I am so grateful for the lessons they are all teaching me along the way.