Filled with Gratitude

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Filled with Gratitude ​By Elizabeth Shean

I belong to the Caregiver Stress Relief community on Facebook, and I find it a wonderful place to commune with other caregivers. From posts with uplifting stories to practical advice on how I can take better care of myself, the Caregiver Stress Relief page is my one-stop shop for inspiration and information.

But perhaps my favorite thing about the Caregiver Stress Relief community is "Fill-in-the-Blank Friday," when moderators post a simple statement for community members to complete. The responses from fellow caregivers never fail to amuse me or inspire me or make me cry. I always look forward to taking a coffee break on Friday morning and filling in the blank before reading what others have said.

Recently, the moderators posted this statement: "Today I am grateful for _____________." What a wonderful topic! It’s so easy for us caregivers to get stuck in the weeds, to complain about how hard things are or how hopeless things can seem.

But gratitude? Sometimes that seems to be in short supply, and I was grateful to the Caregiver Stress Relief page for helping me refocus.

Here are a few of the things I am grateful for today:

1. That I have the privilege of caring for my mother as her life winds down.

2. That she is able to share with me stories about her childhood that I’ve never heard before.

3. Being able to ask her questions about herself, her family, my nuclear family, my own early life—all of the things I one day will wonder about after she’s gone and can no longer answer me.

4. The expansive, blue New Mexico sky spreading above me, visible in all its glory from my home office window.

5. My siblings, all of whom are still alive and with whom I have loving relationships.

6. My social network, which to my delight is expanding since I returned to New Mexico.

7. Mom’s CAREGiver℠, Jessa, who is warm and attentive.

8. My perfect little house, where I can spend the rest of my life in peace and comfort.

9. Being able to earn a living while working from home. I wish every family caregiver had this luxury.

10. All of my wonderful clients.

11. The many photos of my late husband on my office desk, which bring me comfort every day.

12. A giant rosebush in the backyard that puts out masses of delicate, peachy blooms every spring.

13. My wonderful dog, Mitzi, who gives kisses at every opportunity and pushes me to take her on long hikes in the mountains (because sometimes I need to encouragement to exercise).

14. A delicious roast currently simmering in the slow cooker and filling the house with delightful smells.

15. Meditation, which helps me clear my mind every evening before bed.

16. Everyone who reads these posts.

And that’s a highly incomplete, partial list of things I can think of to be grateful for just today! Gosh, going through this exercise has made me feel so content inside. I really need to remember to do this more often.

What are you grateful for today? You can add a response here, or pop over to the original question on the Caregiver Stress Relief community Facebook page.

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