My makeshift office was in the dining room. I was sitting at the table working away when my mother came into the room and sat at the end of the table. I must’ve looked annoyed, because she immediately put up her hand and said, “I know, I know. I won’t talk. I just want to be with you.” And there we sat. It is the last lovely memory I have of my mother before she passed.  When I linger on that memory my heart swells with love.

I once read that grief is an extension of love. You can grieve the end of an era or season in your life as well as grieve the loss of someone dear to you. I cried during the first spring break that I spent apart from my girls (their dad and I were separated and they vacationed without me). I cried when Brooke went off to college, and I cried when Jillian got her driver’s license.

But grief doesn’t just come at the end of things, grief marks a new beginning. Grief in many ways is our collective response to that reality that life will be different from now on. But rest assured my beautiful friend, in time, different can be beautiful.

I am listening to a recording by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes called, “Mother Night.” In it she is talking about nightmares, and how nightmares are terrifying because we wake up before the dream is finished. The idea is that within the nightmare, there are resources and resolutions, and if we have the courage to stay present our angels will show up and show us the way.

I think it’s this way too with our waking reality. Stay present through it all and the angels eventually show up.

My love for my mother hasn’t lessened in the four years she’s been in spirit, and of course I miss her. I long to have many more days at the dining room table where I can tell her all the wonderful things that are happening in my life. These thoughts no longer make me sad because through the cord of my imagination I am able pull her to me. I hear her voice in my head guiding me, teasing me, and making me laugh. We still have our inside jokes. Here in my heart she is alive and I am so grateful.  I don’t cry any longer that my children are growing up. I am grateful that they are such beautiful, intelligent, and independent young women. I no longer cry over the family I lost, because the family I have is magical.

I am grateful to be human, to have joy, pleasure, pain, sorrow, and to the hard-won wisdom that is a consequence of the difficult things I’ve endured.

I’m grateful for you and for this planet. I’m grateful for it all.

Please join me in a prayer of gratitude and healing: This is what we are knowing, that we are loved by a Spirit that is unfailing, steadfast, and true. This Spirit, this One Life, has breathed each and every one of us into being. It revels in our beauty and we in turn, bask in Its luminous Light. Knowing that no one’s life is separate from this One Life because It is an ever present Reality. And in the end, no matter what the appearance, there is only kindness,  love, and gratitude. And so we give thanks for all the ways Source shows up for us, from the meal we will eat, to the smiling faces of our family and friends, past, present, and future.  And so it is.

Happy Thanksgiving