The Shades of Gratitude
When I was a teenager, gratitude meant being allowed to stay out past curfew with my friends.
When I was in college, gratitude meant getting grades good enough to welcome a successful career.
When I was 23, gratitude meant being thankful for having 23 good years with my father and having to say goodbye much too soon.
When I was 30 and birthed my son, gratitude was everything, and love was all-consuming.
When I was 33, gratitude was finally giving birth to the daughter I had waited for my entire life, and my world was complete.
When I was 36, gratitude became the ability to remain strong in the winds of change and move forward in my world without my husband. It was raising two children and learning to breathe all over again.
When I was 43, gratitude was surviving a stroke that nearly took my life.
Today, at 47, gratitude is being with the most loving, selfless, caring, nurturing, brilliant woman I have ever known—my beloved mother.
My mother has terminal cancer, glioblastoma.
Am I grateful today? Yes, I suppose, as I watch my mother swallow her first dose of chemotherapy and prepare for radiation treatment.
Gratitude has so many shades; the one I wear today is not one I want, but it is what is.
I will cry myself to sleep tonight as I have each day of the last seven weeks. I will cry for what the universe has “gifted” my mother, myself, my brother and our children. I will plead with my deceased father and grandmother to spare her from this. I will mourn prematurely for a life that is going to be cut short.
I am grateful for the woman that I have been given the honor of calling my mother, my friend.
My mother is so much more than a mother to my brother and me—she is the woman who picked up the pieces when our father committed suicide and continued to be the adoring mother she is.
So yes, I am grateful every single day that I rise and my mother is with me by my side, experiencing life, breathing air and appreciating all that is.
Gratitude takes on many shades; let us all appreciate and cherish every one of those shades, even the darkest of them all.
Nicole Zornitzer, E-RYT 1000, Yoga Therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Studio in Randolph, New Jersey.