Sunday, June 20, 2021
June 20, 2021

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Check It Out: While not always easy, let gratitude guide path


I have to say that it feels good to be back writing this column again. For the past several weeks I have been helping out with a family matter which, not to my surprise, left little mental capacity for anything else. There are still some challenges ahead, and you know what? That’s all right. Something did surprise me, though, after I returned to my own home: an immense feeling of gratitude.

Sure, I was happy (and grateful) to be back with my hubby and cat boys, but I found that the gratitude I was experiencing encompassed so many things. I discovered that being a caregiver — even for one week — is hard and exhausting, but I also felt immense gratitude for having the ability to help out. I was grateful that it was spring and everything around me was either blooming and/or decked out in the greenest of spring greens. I was grateful that the simple act of human touch was healing for both me and my family member. Watching classic films had a calming effect on me, so I was grateful for having access to “Random Harvest” starring Greer Garson and Ronald Coleman, and “All About Eve” starring Bette Davis, among many other wonderful movies. When my feet and back started aching, I was grateful for warm baths and soothing oils. I was finally able to have my first COVID-19 vaccine, and I felt gratitude for that. I was, and still am, immensely grateful for my family who worked together to make sure that not one of us felt alone in the caregiving process.

Perhaps most of all, I felt grateful for the series of small steps that are slowly but surely moving the world back into a more familiar place. Finding toilet paper on the grocery store shelf; getting a haircut; dining at a restaurant; taking a flight to visit family — these are the things that I took for granted in the pre-pandemic world. Now, I find myself grateful for each and every thing that seemed so impossible a short time ago. I know there may be setbacks, and it’s obvious that the pandemic continues to impact and influence every human life on this planet, but — and yes, I am happy to write “but” — there is enough for which to be grateful, and that is what gives me hope.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not saying that feeling grateful is always easy. I am one of those people who tries to find the positive in life, but if a situation comes up where all I get are lemons, lemons, lemons, I’ll be the first to say, “Too much lemonade, I feel terrible, and nothing is going to help.” But then I move on, and, if I’m lucky, there is something to be grateful for just around the corner.

Whatever makes you grateful, find ways to embrace it, and let that gratitude guide your path. You might even find a book about the thing you’re grateful for (Knitted socks? Spy thrillers? Instant Pot Italian dinners?) and that’s worth some gratitude in itself.

  • “All About Eve” [DVD] directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
  • “The Family Caregiver’s Manual: A Practical Planning Guide to Managing the Care of Your Loved One” by David Levy.
  • “The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life” by Janice Kaplan.
  • “Seasonal Flower Arranging: Fill Your Home with Blooms, Branches, and Foraged Materials All Year Round” by Ariella Chezar.
  • “Soaps, Bubbles & Scrubs: Natural Products to Make for Your Body and Home” by Nicole Seabrook.
  • “The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation from Loved One to Caregiver” by Donna Thomson.
  • “Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted” by Kristi Nelson.