Gratitude with an attitude. . . that's when you say "I want to be happy damn it!" That's when you begin trying to figure out how you are going to pull yourself out of a funk if you've decided you do not want to reside there.
It's when you pause being devastated about the loss of your spouse and take a second to smile and remember the good times. It's those moments when you say, I am going to get out of the house today, and not stay holed up in my bedroom.
... It's when you look at your children and say, we need to be creating good memories still. Cause I'll tell you what - even aside from experiencing loss of a loved one, waxing poetic about awesome childhood memories has pulled me out of many a mood rut. I wouldn't have ANY of that on reserve if my mama had not DECIDED to take me to the zoo or the science center, or walk down to the park, or take me to a movie. That stuff is important!
My son was gifted some tickets to an LA Clippers game... Great seats - 7 rows back from the court-side. I received these tickets very soon after my husband passed. My days continue to be up and down... dark and light. During one of those dark days I contemplated just selling those tickets. During one of the light days I said No! We deserve!! ...and hell, I'D never been to an NBA game. January 13th, I packed my boys up and we drove down to Staples Center and had our butts IN THOSE SEATS. One of the BEST decisions I've made in 2018.
A long time ago, I wrote a piece about joy having to be manually applied at times. In this life, I swear, sometimes you have to fight for those good moments like you're fighting a bully in the street! Sometimes life seems intent on taking your peace. That is when I have to say "nah... not today". Losing a baby and losing my husband has taught me that painful things will happen in life REGARDLESS of the good choices we think we are making, and despite how tightly we have our so called ducks in a row. There are things that happen that are simply outside our locus of control. However, there are things we CAN control, and there are memories we can create just by getting up and DOING, BEING, SEEING... LIVING. A manual injection of something joyous in your life when life has tossed an unfortunate occurrence your way is how you are going to continue to counteract the darkness and continue to create good memories that can never be taken away.
Every night I have a couple bullet points of things in my mind that I am thankful for. Losing a spouse can sometimes make you more aware and weary about your own mortality. Instead of dwelling on dreading another loss or my own passing, I change that thought to being thankful in the present that the people I love who are still alive are still here. I remain thankful for the PRESENT - no matter the current or looming circumstances may be. If I get bogged down in darkness, I pull out my flashlight until daylight comes again.
I'm no expert, however my approach to loss has been to sit in the grief when I need to... feel my feelings - because they need to be acknowledged and validated. I am sad, I am angry, I am enraged, I am nervous, I am scared... sometimes I feel a tad clueless. However, believe it or not, I still feel happy, I still recognize funny and love a good laugh. I still love visits from friends when I do not want to be alone, I still like playing video games with my big boy, and peekaboo with my baby. I take FULL advantage of these opportunities when they arise, and CREATE them when I feel a void because DAMN IT! I DESERVE! The power of CHOICE, and - dare I say it, a [healthy] sense of entitlement. That is gratitude with an attitude... my apologies if it sounds like a platitude. Y'all ... lets go GET it.