Monday, October 7, 2019

Thank Goodness for the Little Things

"In grief, the little things are the big things."
~Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D
Grief One Day at a Time

I have been expressing my thankfulness for little things in gratitude journals for over 40 years.  This practice has been a support through divorce, illness, and times of conflict and stress, but never as much as these past months since John's death.  So, upon coming across this quote recently, I decided to revisit the gratitude journal I've just completed to see what little things buoyed me up this past summer.  Could it be that noticing and appreciating these things contributed to the summer being easier than I had dreaded?  
  • a bumper crop of roses - John would have been so pleased
  • a hummingbird hovering within inches of my face
  • chilled red grapes
  • a decent night's sleep
  • and an afternoon nap on the patio chaise
  • figuring out how to program the TV on my own
  • frozen yogurt on a hot day
  • a good book - great writing, thought-provoking, elegant - the perfect book for the moment
  • an unexpected call from an old friend
  • and an invitation for lunch from a new one
  • two dozen, yes two, yellow tulips (my favorite flower) from a friend, "just because"
  • the desert sky at dusk
  • a slice of cheesecake that I treated myself to
  • chicken noodle soup when I'm under the weather
  • how much better everything sounds with my new hearing aids
  • finding an old love letter
  • a sudden, unexpected happy memory
  • a card, a joke, a silly gift -  moments that evoked giggles, even outright belly laughs
  • a customer service agent who actually provides good service
  • helpful strangers who reach objects on top shelves without my asking (I'm only 4'11 and need all the help I can get)
  • anyone who asks how I'm doing and is willing to hear the truth
  • friends who have walked this path before me and can reassure me that what I'm experiencing is normal
  • a stranger telling me how much she or he enjoyed John and misses him
  • old musicals - especially anything with Gene Kelly
  • and gripping British mysteries
  • a good news story that sets the tone for a positive day
  • stumbling on an inspirational quote
  • finding something I've misplaced 
  • and always, always, my sweet Rufus, my little companion, who greets me with pirouettes and soft growls, tailing wagging, a guarantee I never walk into an empty house
Reflecting a bit on this list, I can see that this simple practice of recording 3-5 little things I'm grateful for every night is, indeed, one of the little things that is helping me endure this grief.  Without this as an established practice, I suspect I could find it almost impossible to notice the little things. For this enduring practice of finding gratitude for the little things, I am most grateful.

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