Friday, June 13, 2014

Roses in December

"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December" ~ James M. Barrie

I recently attended the funeral (home going service) of a dear loved one. Family, friends, and clergy made many profound statements. One that tugged at my heart was a quote by Barrie: “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”

I know firsthand how inspiring fond memories can be. I lost both my parents within three months of each other. Although I knew they would one day transition from life to death, I was shocked by the extent of my grief when they transitioned. By all accounts, my parents were considered elderly, but when they died, I felt like a part of me had been ripped away--twice. During that time, I thought about the phantom pain that some people experience when their limb or extremity hurts after a surgeon amputates it. Although the limb is no longer present, the person continues to feel pain.

When you consider the makings of life, both parents literally become one to offer a portion of themselves. Consequently, the merger produces new life. I learned to accept grief and reasoned that my heart ached because what was once parts of a whole had been broken up. I was part of my parents, and my parents were part of me. No wonder I hurt when they were no longer present. This was my December. But then I began to smell the roses in December.
I thought about fond memories, and my fond memories turned into mental thank you notes. One day I literally wrote down all the things, regarding my parents, for which I was thankful. It engendered a smile on my face and in my heart. I thought about what my life would have been like without those experiences I had with my parents, and I felt far more blessed and thankful than I did when grief was my companion. I learned the value of keeping a gratitude journal.

Keeping a gratitude journal is simple way for you to encourage yourself and revolutionize your thinking about a situation:

  • Designate a journal for your gratitude (you can also keep an electronic journal).
  • A few days a week write down at least three things for which you are thankful.
  • Go the extra mile--Instead of listing items, explain why you are grateful.
  • Include pictures and small mementos, such as a leaf, a swatch of fabric, or a feather.
  • Incorporate your senses: what you heard, saw, smelled, tasted, and touched.
  • Make gratitude writing a family activity in which all members of the family contribute to it.
  • Periodically reflect on what you wrote, especially on the days you need encouragement.
  • Consider using a cork or other decorative board in which you prominently post your expressions gratitude. The visual aid becomes a constant reminder of your gratitude.
  • Write from a spiritual perspective; express your gratitude in the form of a prayer.
  • Write letters to others to express your gratitude.
  • Don’t forget to recognize under recognized facts, such as you survived the day--you are still alive.

Connect with me on Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:

  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?

How have roses in December helped you? This is the story in you. Share it.


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