The Power of Gratitude is something I am learning this month.  As an author, if I were to write a book today, the title would be “House of Chaos.” Luckily we have sidestepped multiple instances of injuries in the past four weeks regarding Mom, who suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Having to make hard decisions in the past month regarding mom’s care has brought tremendous guilt. I had to break through that and focus on her safety and quality of life. Once I had broken through my guilt barrier of long time care placement and broken through the obstacles, it reduced my stress load, bringing more confidence that long term care is needed for not only her safety but the quality of life as well. 

Mind you, sometimes gratitude is difficult, especially in times of stress, sadness, or disappointment. I try not to get caught up in the feelings of guilt and the vicious cycle of if only. Daily, now I must take time to sit quietly and just breathe. 

I am finding just taking a few moments to jot down everything I am grateful for after breathing has helped me become less guilt-ridden and more optimistic about each day. A practice that I will continue as our home life changes in the next few weeks.

Practicing gratitude and noticing a remarkable change in our lives is a slow process. I don’t believe you can see the benefits of gratitude instantly. I am beginning to learn, and it takes effort. I am learning to count my blessings every day, no matter the size, no matter the challenges, and finding joy in what I do have in life each day, confidence in my decisions, and building resiliency.

The one thing I have noticed is that life is an unsolved mystery. Changes come and go, and we often reach crossroads in life.  Ours is making the hard decision that Mom needs more care than I can give her now. I am grateful we have found a charming living center.

Finding that honesty in myself, that it is my guilt that is the obstacle was a wake-up call. I had to put that aside to come to terms with what was best for mom. Whew, not an easy task, but one I am grateful for.

My advice going forward is to spend some time looking at your life. Make a little list of current challenges. What are you grateful for?

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