I think most of us are told our entire lives to be grateful for what we have, when we have it. At certain stages of my life, being grateful was sometimes the only thing that got me through a day. Let’s face it, we all go about our days, working, being Uber’s for our kids, sometimes with schedules so jammed packed we can’t even think straight yet alone have time to be all zen and grateful and shit.
Sometimes, I don’t even know what being grateful is supposed to look like. It is a very simple thing to say to someone, “Be grateful for what you have, who you are, where you are, etc.” But what does it mean? What does it feel like? I am asking these questions mostly for myself. I am asking these questions for myself because since having my heart attack, I feel like being grateful is something that I need to be but if I am being honest, it pisses me off.
What exactly am I being grateful for? That a widow maker heart attack didn’t kill me? Well let me tell you, having survived this heart attack that statistically should have killed me leaves me here alive wondering why I am here every single day. It leaves me here with an incredible responsibility to do something huge. That is a lot of pressure. Because I was afforded this additional opportunity to live my life, I owe the universe and everyone in it this big huge gesture. My entire life has been a big huge gesture. Momma’s tired.
Like what if I want to be an Uber driver and not a Psychologist? What if I want to be a Barista and not someone that fixes broken businesses? I guess I am free to do anything I want to do as long as my children are taken care of.
Here is the thing. I have the ability right now to be and do anything I want to do. I can be anything I want to be. I do feel like I want to use this opportunity I have been given for good. I often use everything I have and am for good, I don’t know how to be anything else.
This is where that gratitude edges into my life. I can’t help but feel a lightness in my spirit when I think about what I can be and do, that I am alive and while the reason hasn’t been revealed to me yet, it will be. This I believe.
I can confidently say that I believe one of the reasons I am still here was to be able to participate in my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah this past weekend. A lot of planning went into planning this event; plans that were in the works even at the time I had my heart attack. I savored each moment of this day. Watching her get her make up and hair done, helping her get dressed, watching her walk into the venue to see how beautiful it was, watching her all night. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her.
I was keeping my eyes on my son this night too. Just watching both of them is overwhelming. They are both so big now, their own people, their own thoughts, feelings, opinions about everything they experience.
It is very difficult for me to even think that I wouldn’t get to see their faces every day. If I wasn’t here, what other woman would look at them how I look at them? Would she understand them like I understand them? Would she be able to sense when something was wrong with them like I can? I think of it like this because they are worthy of being looked at and admired and adored every single day. They are wonderful to watch and to be around.
My daughter did separate dances with me and my ex-husband and she picked the song for each dance. For her and I she picked, “Can’t Take my Eyes Off of You,” by Lauryn Hill. This is our song, it has always been our song. We danced to the song, singing it to each other and hugging and crying.
At one point, I said to her, “I am so grateful I am alive to be here with you and share this day with you, Maya.” She said, “Today would not have happened if you couldn’t have been here.”
It hit me in that moment. That is what gratitude is. When you are able to be present enough in your own skin to not be able to comprehend your life for that moment without that person, place or thing. When it hit me, a very warm and loving feeling came over my body. It also felt sweet. Everything feels sweeter now than it ever did. In a way, I almost feel like a newborn that possibly gets the chance to experience certain parts of this life over again like they are happening to me for the first time.
For that, I am grateful.