Thankful, Yes, Even For The Pain.

2017 was good to many of the loves of my life, however, personally this year has brought me me more valleys than hills. If December 31st was washed away a little quicker to welcome in the new waves of 2018 I would not be *too* upset about it.  In the end, though, I know that ushering in a new year really would not matter because, dates mean nothing. The feelings we hold, the memories we cherish, the moments we feel just happened in those twilight hazy hours between slumber and waking do not have expiration dates. There is no set parameters of time that will stop emotions from overwhelming you or shaking you to your core. When we heal, reminisce, grieve, feel the flutter of love in our hearts...our emotions do not abide by the made up laws that we constructed of time. 

Through the painful valleys-deep as they are, that I have had the pleasure of walking through,  I am still thankful even though there are days that the sun does not even come close to meeting the path that I am walking. 

Tradition has halted this year. 

These upcoming holidays will not be the same. 

I will not have my mom sweetly ask me what I am thankful for this year...neither will I receive her thanksgiving card enumerated with all the reasons she is thankful I am her daughter, that she presented me every year since I was child...nor will we leave Christmas decorations haphazardly strewn around the house while getting caught up in some cheesy Christmas movie.

Can I start these traditions with other people? Most likely. Do I want to? Maybe. Will it ever be the same? No. There are those definitive moments in life where your life can be pinpointed by an event happening. You will always refer to events as 'before this happened' or 'after this happened'. At this point, I am in the after stage. Everything from September 7th, 2017 is after mom passed away. It is so odd because I was so blessed to have her hold on and fight so long for almost a whole year after entering Hospice care. She did her damnedest to not let anyone know she was suffering, in pain or the extent of her issues, even though they were real and they were rough so it is still so odd for me to realize that I am living in the after. 

Even with the painful relearning of how to live my every day life, I am thankful to still be here.  We may feel that in these dark times that we are buried and have to dig our way out...and we are right We are buried in our pain. Painful as it is, this is a time for growth and nourishment. This darkness overwhelms us and covers us like nutritious dirt for a seedling. While writhing during the growth spurts we discover that we are evolving and moving towards a new reality. We can stay buried deep in the dirt or we can rise to the top and bloom. This pain grows us. It is uncomfortable, it is challenging, it is unfair at times, but we do not have a choice in the matter of pain affecting us. The only choice we have is if we choose to rise above it and allow ourselves to be transformed and thankful for everything we have learned or keep ourselves lost and buried. 

Let's be clear. This pain? It sucks. I am sure you have felt it too. Perhaps, it was not your mother leaving this earth. Maybe it was a relationship that ended abruptly and shattered you into a thousand pieces, perhaps you were unfairly judged, ostracized and not able to obtain the goals you wanted to and feel like a failure, mayhaps you never took the opportunity to patch up a rift in a relationship and it haunts you because of the things you could and should have said,  it is possible that those you loved the most, your family your friends, left you feeling insecure and like you would never be worthy of love or maybe someone was ripped too soon from this world from you and left you reeling, lost and in pain. 

Choosing to be thankful for what you have learned about yourself, the trials you have endured and came out on top, the pain that has reshaped you...does not negate the pain, it does not trivialize your experiences or make light of the situation. It simply is acknowledging that you are grateful you made it through a tough time. 

So, yes. This year, I am thankful for every moment of this year, even the rough ones.

I am thankful for my family for extending hospitality when we visited them in North Carolina, I am thankful for my aunt for arranging everything and making sure my mom was comfortable during the flight and when were in another state, I am thankful for my cousin's husband who snuck mom treats making her laugh and souped up her walker, I am thankful for people who looked past strained relationship ties and helped me care for my mom towards the end,  I am thankful for my uncle for always reminiscing and talking about music with my mom and giving her an arm to lean on when her feet where unsteady, I am thankful my cousin and her children who got to make goofy memories with my mom, I am thankful that my cousin and his family drove up to spend time with my mom at a laid back get together, I am thankful for my mom's long time friend who always reached out on facebook or text to chat and make her day, I am thankful my friends who checked on me and her when the times got rough, I am thankful for the gift cards we were given, the meals that were brought over, I am thankful the person who loves me more made me cut the facade and tell her my real feelings and fears even when it scared me, I am thankful that Hospice stepped in even when I was fighting their necessary intervention, I am thankful for all the girls days and trips my cousin, aunt, mom and I took, I am thankful for stopping and smelling the roses-even if I was forced to, I am thankful for my co-workers who pushed me out the door when I was trying to work, I am thankful you will not judge me for this horrendous run-on sentence, I am thankful for my mom's registration girls, ultrasound techs, SWAT nurses, surgical care nurses, all her doctors, all her nurses, all her care teams, I am thankful for shoulders to cry on and people to drink with, and I am thankful for the woods that took the beating of my boots when I needed silence and solace.

And I am thankful for the pain, especially for the pain. I am thankful for the heartbreak that I am still reeling from because you only get that kind of heartbreak once you realize you were truly, wholly and beautifully loved and I know with her absence I will miss her and that wholesome, protective, goofy, beautiful love and will never find that kind of love again. Yes, I will be loved by many more people in this lifetime...but never is one love the same as another, and hers was something special. 

This pain? It sucks. But I really am thankful for reminds me of her and the life we lived together. 


  1. I am inspired by your ability to let feelings be what they are, for accepting that it's not all one way or the other, for reminding me that there is sweet with the sour, and for you. Always, for you. ❤

  2. You inspire me to keep going. With it all, I know I can do it.


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