Gratitude is powerful and potent. It can transform a moment of despair into one of love; reach inside & cause a rumble, a light-heartedness, a laugh to bubble up and give joy. My brother, Josh, died on April 23rd of last year and it left a hole in my heart, a loss so deep some days I can barely breathe. The pain covers me in waves of heat & pressure rises from my stomach to my head. I squeeze my eyes shut with a force to transport myself to a time when he was alive & healthy. I squeeze my eyes shut to avoid howling like a banshee with no hope, crumpling to the ground. But if I pause before I reach the limits, I can bring myself back from that ledge at the abyss and give thanks.
I give thanks for my hands that caressed his arm. I give thanks for my heart that did not cease to beat when his departure was near. I give thanks for every single moment of my life that brought me to strength to remain with my brother through his illness; no matter the darkness of many of those moments, I give thanks. I give thanks for my voice and my mother’s song. Josue, wouldn’t allow me to sing it to him, the lullaby my mother sang to us as children and even adults. Missing our mother and her warm embrace so full of tenderness and love, the simple, sweet words were too overwhelming for him to bear. Near the end I needed to sing it to him. I do not know if the desire came for him or for me, but he did not deny me and I sang my brother to sleep through tears and the pressure inside me that threatened to swallow me before it shattered me into small slivers.