For a couple of years now I've jumped on the bandwagon with, well I guess you could call it, "Thankful November". Where everyone either posts 1 blog a day with what they are feeling thankful for that day, or posting a status update on facebook with something that they are thankful for. I've done it both ways -- or at least attempted to.
But I decided not to do it this year. It's not that I'm NOT thankful -- but part of it is that I just possibly can't even express how thankful I am for the things in my life. I don't think anyone can even begin to realize the perspective that I have been blessed with this past year with everything that I went through. From the kindness I have received right down to finding a wonderful job and convient place to live, I can't even begin to put into words how humbled and thankful I have become for everything in my life. I feel like this is something very unique and not very many possess this deep gratitude for everything.
Now of course I can be your normal, typical, every-day Debbie Downer, just like every one is once in awhile -- but more often than not I am able to take a step back and look at the good in my life. I'm able to look at things in a different way. I realize how fleeting things can be. Not just life, but everything. I have the ability to find thanks in even the moments that cause the most pain.
So for this thankful Thursday, I just want to write about how thankful I am for personal realizations and a bit of self discovery.
When one loses someone they care for very deeply they often hear about how the next several years will be filled with moments of discovering who you really are. I completely get that because it seems like with every turn I am realizing new things about myself that I never knew before. I am realizing so many things that I dont' think I would be able to realize so early in life and without such a painful event in my life. Where I obviously am not thankful for the loss that I have experienced, I am thankful for the deeper appreciation that I have of life, and more importantly the appreciation and respect that I am learning to have for myself.
I have come to realize that it takes a very special and strong person to have this unique viewpoint on life even when one has been through so very much. Throughout my whole life people have constantly told me how much strength I have and for the longest time I couldn't even begin to believe it. From the moment I was diagnosed with my own disease, and even more so when I began taking care of the person I loved most, I have always been told how strong I am. But not once did I believe it.
I never saw it as strength. I always saw it as something I HAD to do. Going through the things that I went through was never a choice... it was something I had to do because, well, who wouldn't? Who wouldn't stand by their husband every waking hour? Who wouldn't go to extreme lengths to try and save his life? Who would just give up on the one they loved most?? It wasn't until after I had started to recover from the weakest point in my life that I realized what true strength really was.... and for so, so long, I had been the definition of it.
I did have a choice to stay or to walk away when the going got tough. It didn't even necessarily have to be leaving him because I couldn't handle it... but it could have been something as simple as, well sayy, choosing not to be at the hospital near as much. There was not one thing saying that I had to stay. There wasn't one thing keeping me at his bedside. The only thing that kept me there was my own strength. Those days that I didn't think I could make it through? I made it through because of the inner strength that I didn't realize I had and was using. Until beginning to heal from the biggest loss of my life I had no idea the resilience that I have.
I am so thankful for knowing how much strength I really have. It's helped me through some of the more, I guess you could say, less significant, melt downs that I've had. The worry of moving back out to Utah. Finding a job. Finding a place to live. Things like that. Yes they are legitimate worries, but I know that if I can get through losing a spouse and the grieving that comes along with it, I can get through nearly anything thrown my way. I now KNOW that I have the strength to do it.
I've proved it to myself time after time again and it just took a little bit of self reflection to realize it.