Lessons in gratitude – a very personal story

“Gratitude cultivates the most fragrant garden in which beautiful flowers grow.” – Heather

I lost my Grandmother 8 years ago, she scored a wonderful innings of 90 and then moved on to re-unite with her ‘sweetheart’.

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My Gran and her ‘Sweetheart’ seated in the middle with the extended family

It took me a considerable amount of time to pay tribute to this amazing women because I struggled to find words that could encapsulate the “essence” of this very special lady that I was blessed enough to call MY Grandmother.

Shortly after my gran passed away I was given a paper bag filled with diaries written by my Gran and Grandfather.

On the Friday the 2nd of May 1997, my Gran wrote;-

“My Sweetheart had heart attack after working garden and died at about 1pm. All family called and so many phone calls. John and Anita came & so good to me. I don’t know how I’ll carry on without you my Sweetheart.”

But she did carry on for another 12 years, and as I read through the diaries what struck me was that she carried on and found strength and value in approaching life from a place of deep gratitude.

Whilst she continued to list her daily activities, these were all followed by comments of how much she appreciated phone calls, visits, outings, church meetings, friendly chats, good food and warm weather. She noted the little things, small gestures and acts of kindness, but she noted them with profound gratitude and appreciation. Phrases such as “people so good to me”, “good”, “kind”. “lovely” , “a real blessing”, “made my day” filled the pages and even as she got older and was in more and more pain, these phrases never left the pages!

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My gran Millicent Thelma Meyer at Christmas time

Her very last diary entry on the 9th of August 2009, before she became too ill to write, ended with the words “so good to me”!

Even in her last years when she was small and frail and in immense pain, she approached life with great gratitude: “So many young people suffer so much and are so ill and in so much pain, so I am grateful that I only have pain now that I’m old”.

As I read the pages of her diaries, I was filled with not only with a great sense of loss, but an even greater understanding of the value of gratitude ;- of valuing relationships, friendships and family. I began to understand the importance of counting my blessings, not only the big ones, but the small ones, the ones that go unnoticed and the ones I so often take for granted.

On pondering the things I have to be grateful for, I realised that it would be almost impossible to list them all. 

I encourage all of you to begin noting your blessings, appreciating all the good things around you and in your life, because it’s from this place that we are able to find the strength and courage to carry on every day and tackle the challenges that face us.

Gran, you always said to me that I will never know how much I mean to you, well now I do . You valued my life, you valued me, you appreciated every little thing I did for you and you were so grateful to have me as your grand-daughter.

After spending days reading your journals, I understand now, and I’m so very grateful and blessed to have had you as my gran!

To some my Gran may have been a housewife, a tennis player, a member of the bowls club, a shopper, a patient, a neighbour, a commuter, a client……but to me, Gran, you’re an icon, small as you were, your legacy and your exceptional approach to life make you one of the GREATEST role models!

I love you and I miss you SO much !!

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