What are you most thankful for?
After loving the prompts and having no trouble writing my posts for The Today Voice over the last two weeks, I came to this week’s question and felt stuck. Of course I have so much to be grateful for, but where to begin and naming what exactly am I *most* grateful had me avoiding working on this post.
Then I read Tuesday’s Voice this week. I really appreciate the direction Brian went with his post, in which he wrote about how a game-changing life event (applying for a job where his future wife happened to work) is what he is most thankful for. I love how he showed all that grew from that moment, including his marriage; children and the life he has today, which makes him feel so blessed and lucky.
That got me thinking about if there were any game changing moments in my life that I feel most thankful for, which also encompass and/or led to the peace and joy that I feel today with my loved ones, my home and other things that move and inspire me. Ironically I came up with one of the most beautiful and tragic events of my life, our journey with our baby girl Molly.
Though surviving Molly’s death, so soon after her birth, was very difficult and painful for my family and me, I believe that so much of who I am today I have my daughter who is not with me (except for in spirit and in my heart) to thank.
I am a better mother to my living son Sean and daughter Abby for knowing what it is to watch one of my children die in my husband’s arms. I appreciate the little things that I might not otherwise, realizing how precious and fleeting life can be. I am by no means a perfect mother and find myself getting frustrated and impatient at times while helping my children to learn and grow. But I am also more compassionate and honest with Sean and Abby about the blessings we have and difficulties we face in life. As a result they too seem to be more open, caring and understanding when it comes to interacting with others, as well as talking about life and death.
I am a better wife for having survived a five-year journey through secondary infertility and loss with my husband Bob, especially Molly’s life and death. Though our experience has been very challenging, straining our relationship at times, it also has brought us closer together and helped us to learn to navigate married life and parenting during extremely difficult and uncertain times for our family. Bob and I deal with disappointment, grief and loss differently much of the time, but we try to communicate openly and often about how we are feeling and what we are thinking.
I am a better human being for having carried and given birth to Molly. As I have shared on my blog, when it comes to infertility and loss, one of the most important lessons I have learned is how to be more sensitive to and compassionate with others. We don’t always know what personal and private battles our loved ones and others we meet are fighting in their lives. Whether or not I know what people are struggling with, I do my best to be mindful of what I do and say as not to offend or hurt their feelings and to show them that I care. I also share my experience in effort to help others to cope and find joy when life doesn’t go as we hope, dream and plan (whether due to infertility, loss, illness and/or other circumstances).
On this Thanksgiving Day, I wish you and yours much peace, love and joy in your lives and hope that you have a wonderful time however you spend this holiday. I am thankful to be a part of this weekly writing project as Thursday’s Voice and am grateful to you for reading and sharing your thoughts about my posts.
What are you most thankful for?
Kathy Benson is a bereaved and blessed mom, writer and group fitness instructor trying to live mindfully and find joy in the journey after dealing with secondary infertility and loss for five years. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two living children.