Please bear with me - this post is going to ramble on a bit.
Oprah always says "What I know for sure is...." I have been envious of her - she knows a lot of things for sure! She has been publishing magazines monthly for over ten years and she prints something she knows for sure in each one of them, so that ALONE is more than 120 things that she knows.
I always think - "I wish I knew something for sure."
I mentioned in an earlier post that I am doing meditations for the first time. I am well into the third week and the most recent meditation was about being grateful.
I believe in gratitude. I always have. I had an experience this week where I was away at a conference and a server who was working for the hotel was seeming to have a rough night. One of the women at our table saw her getting into some trouble in the hallway and she was not smiling or enjoying herself as she worked serving dinner. Another (inspired) person at our table issued a challenge to those of us seated there to see who could make her smile first. A challenge is something I am usually up for and it was GREAT fun to try and get her attention, show gratitude for what she was doing for us, and get her to smile. We managed to get her to smile then and over the next 24 hours went out of our way to connect with her. I KNOW FOR SURE that she felt appreciated by us and that it made a difference to her that night. It was a recent and "re"-affirmation that gratitude has power.
Late last night I got a text message that my aunt's organs were failing and that her children were being gathered at the hospital immediately. Later, the decision was made to remove her from the respirator and within a few hours the message came that she had passed away.
I was - I AM - gutted. I hurt for my mom. I hurt for my cousins. I hurt for me! I lay in bed, my mind racing and I thought, I need to get some sleep tonight and I need to do my meditation. I turned it on and began listening to the message on gratitude. I lay in bed, tears streaming down my face, listening to a message I KNOW to be true - and not feeling like I WANTED to be grateful at all for the passing of my loved one. I felt hypocritical laying there, listening and feeling resentment instead of gratitude. Out of the blue, I imagined being in the presence of my aunt and hearing her say my name. "Ju".
I cried harder, but realized that I have - I KNOW FOR SURE that I have - MANY, MANY things to be grateful for.
I am grateful that I was born in a time and in a place and in a family where I was loved, nurtured and raised by my aunt, forging with her a mother-daughter bond that has lasted my lifetime and is not done.
I am grateful for the skinned knees she fixed when I crashed my bike over a speed bump in California Caravan Park in England - racing to get home to her.
I am grateful that she taught me how to cross stitch, grateful for the Christmas decorations we made together.
I am grateful for the red rosettes she sent to me every year for my birthday - with my age in gold. I am grateful for her voice, her songs, that lifted my spirit. I loved to lay my head on her lap in church and FEEL her sing.
I am grateful for her prayers for me "When the moon is rising". (The moon rises daily - as did her prayers on my behalf !)
There was never a time in my life EVER, that when I called her that she didn't greet me - "Ju. Hi my love." She only had to hear me say hello and she knew it was me. I am grateful for the dress she made for me when I graduated from high school - so that I didn't have to wear anything in pastels and with lots of bows - (she still managed to slip in a bow). I am grateful for the blankets she made for my sons. I am grateful for the hand written cards she sent when my pets died . She is one of only two people I know on earth who still sent things in the mail handwritten.
She was there for me in my infancy, there for me in my youth, there for me in my teenage years and in my adulthood. I have spent time with her on three different continents. I spent summers with her when I was in high school, lived with her when I was.... Who knows what I was?! Confused?
I could go on and on and on and on.
In the last 20 hours or so I have watched her siblings, her nieces and nephews, and others she knows write on facebook about their love for her. The lives she impacted are immeasurable. I could start to make a list of the charitable organizations she has helped, of the hours of service she has put in, and begin to measure the impact she has had on the world. It is plain to see that EVERY person she had contact with has been enriched by their relationship.
Instead of beginning to take measure of the impact she had on others I will share with you what I know for sure - she loved me. I know she did, and she knows that I love her.
Thank-you Aunty Bren. I know for sure.