Going To Gratitude

We saw this sign hanging on a door during
our recent visit to the Ronald McDonald House.

It was our brother Paul who pointed it out.

As we tried to make sense of why we were there,
touring and talking about Mark's volunteer work while
wishing he'd have been our tour guide, these wise words
seemed to have been written for such a time as this and,
perhaps even more poignantly, being directed straight at us.

For a reason.

As we approach the three-month mark of
missing our little brother, of grieving,
of saying goodbye, and of letting go,
I'm reminded over and over again
about the importance being grateful,
about how going to gratitude really is
the elixir that magically makes the
despair disappear easier to digest.

For me, it works like this:

When my heart feels emptier than Mark's garage without his sweet ride or his house without him living there, I'm thankful for the times that we got to spend in his home on N. 63rd Street. Together.

When I feel angry and ripped off because he was taken from us at 53 (way too soon),  I thank mad for working so hard to try to shield me from sad.

When I can't shake the fear that his heart attack was a side effect of the vaccine that he'd gotten just three weeks prior to his passing, I go to gratitude for the countless others whom the vaccination might save.

When I feel deep sorrow from missing him so desperately, I am grateful to have had someone so special in my life that I called not only my brother, 
but also one of my very best friends. 

And when I feel lonely, I'm thankful that he's not lonely anymore.

I recently stumbled on an email that he wrote to me in 2019,
after I sent him a stack of letters that he'd written to me
while away from home, during his college days in Florida.

Sigh. See why his passing has seared this scar on my soul?

I guess you could say that gratitude is my go-to during grief;
it's a coveted potion that's helping me find that sliver of peace
that'll protect me through the holiday season and then
propel me on into the new year without him here.

Happy Thanks {and} Giving 2021;
what helps YOU get to gratitude?

1 comment

  1. I understand the grief, my friend. I, too, lost a sibling way too young and I continue to miss her in my life. But I have seen so many wonderful things happen because of the legacy she left here on earth. Always gratitude, always gratitude. Love you!


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