I love the beginning of each seasonal change, but I especially love the fall. Nature’s transformation is always a reminder of how fortunate I am to live surrounded by such profound beauty, which always makes my gratitude list.
This year, as the last of the beautiful leaves silently fell and thoughts of Thanksgiving took over, I found melancholia setting in—something that doesn’t usually happen until late winter. I focused on distractions and swept my feelings under the rug, which I’m notorious for but not necessarily something I recommend. I decided to finish my gratitude list for Thanksgiving because that is something positive to do, right?
Family and friends made the top of the list with no trouble: health, a safe and comfortable home, financial stability, freedom—so much to be grateful for—I could go on and on. I sifted through good times and bad and found my melancholia emerging from under the rug. I found myself thinking about how Jim (my husband) and I have overcome our most recent hardships and tragedies—we have both had more than our fair share over the last several years.
Inner strength, help from family and friends, the medical knowledge and care of our healthcare providers—everyone played a role in our success to heal and move forward. As I reached the bottom of the page, I listed our three beloved cats—our children—that we lost in the span of seven months right before the pandemic struck.
Lately, both Jim and I have found ourselves reminiscing over their quirky personalities. We have shared both funny and sad memories while sharing our cell phone photos. The root cause of my early melancholia became quite apparent.
Our four-legged family members have all played a significant role in our success in overcoming life’s emotional hurdles. They are justly our unsung heroes. I revised my gratitude list, not because everything I had listed before had less significance, but because our dear companions, our only children, deserve our deepest gratitude for helping us endure life’s challenges.
During this week of giving thanks, I fill my list and heart with gratitude for our furry loved ones that have passed and those that continue to bring us abundant love, joy, and healing.