Gratitude - Love in the Time of Apocalypse
When it became clear to me that she was dying, I spent days weeping. That's the right word for it, because I wasn't sobbing or wringing my hands or wailing up to the sky, Why, Why. The tears just came out of me without any fuss, and did it whenever they felt like coming, which was any time--while I folded the laundry or fed my cats or when I was out in the garden cutting the yellowed and blighted leaves from the squash plants. Tears running like a stream through a forest, steady and business-like, constant.
I wasn't weeping from sadness, though of course I'll miss her when she's gone. It was a great, heavy, solid weight of gratitude pressing all those tears out of me. Thankfulness for everything she did and everything she sacrificed so that Georgia and I would be okay--as okay as could be managed, given our circumstances. And thankfulness that she had taught me generosity by her example, thankfulness that I am a person who gives instead of one who takes; that's the only way I've found to love myself--loving the things I do for other people and the ease with which I do them, the lack of hesitation. Gratitude that I was able to see past the unlovable exterior she showed to the world and discern the generosity that always was her essential self. And most of all, gratitude that I could give back to her now, that I have the means to ease her suffering a little, when she needs it most.
My mom called me and asked me not to spend so much money. With the tears still coming, I said, "Don't deny me the chance to show her how grateful I am for everything she did for us."