November brings with it cooler weather, leaves of gold and the feeling of thanks in the air. It’s the perfect time to begin a practice of gratitude. You Know Neen is hosting the 2nd Annual 30 Days of Gratitude blog series, a place where the experience of gratitude will be explored and shared. I, along with several other contributors will be sharing our thoughts on all things gratitude.
Written By: Kerri Sherman
It has been an incredible past year for my 79 year old mom Mary and I. I watched as my sweet devoted mom stayed next to my dear dad until his last breath, saying goodbye to her partner and love of 60 years.
I am grateful she knew to quietly pick herself back up, doing her best to stay busy and fill her days with good people and things to look forward to, while still maintaining her home.
Yet something wasn’t feeing right inside of me. I paid attention, and listened to my instincts. I felt Mom was just “treading water” and could do better. After much thought, planning, and with her permission, I moved her closer to me to a retirement community.
She was now miles away from her network of friends and decades of south side roots. She never looked back. Can you imagine?
I am beyond grateful for her positive attitude when we approached her about selling her house and moving closer to us in an easier maintenance free living situation. I thought this would be a huge mountain to climb, but it wasn’t.
Mom was accepting and trusting. Yet for me, it was still a leap of faith wondering how this was all going to shake out, and it unfolded beautifully. Mom instantly met one of her new besties sitting next to her playing jackpot bingo. These two women are practically inseparable.
She dove into meeting new friends, staying in touch with old ones, trying new things, boarding buses to go apple picking and attend lectures, joined a book club and a singing group.
She is not needy, she holds her own. As I write this passage, her house will close in a few days. Many of her “things” were sold at an estate sale. Mom’s lack of attachment to material possessions is very healthy, compared to the tears I shed about my childhood piano not staying in the family.
She let go of so much, but has gained new memories with my kids, as they forge a stronger bond with their sweet grandma “Mimi”. My Mom is a survivor – I credit her self preservation skills to her upbeat attitude. She rarely, if ever, complains. She has endured the joys and concerns of raising four very unique kids, battled breast cancer, deals with daily neuropathy, the loss of her husband and the loss of the home she lived in for many years.
Yet- she is not sad, she is happy. She is a beautiful flower re-blooming in this next chapter of her life. She is grateful for the time I spend with her, and I am grateful to her for not being demanding. This is key, because having her in close proximity poses an added layer of responsibility on my part. So far so good.
She trusts I will handle all the behind the scenes things for her, and in return for her being such a piece of cake to deal with, I will treat this woman like a princess until she becomes royalty in heaven. She deserves it. This is good, and I am forever grateful.
I’d like to share some life lessons that I’ve learned during this past year from my mom, which I am incredibly grateful for:
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – and if you do, shake it off!
- You get what you give
- Listen to your inner voice, go with your gut, trust your intuition
- When you put yourself out there, with kindness and an open mind, the world is yours
Kerri Sherman is a professional photographer with a love for all things true and beautiful. You can follow Kerri on her Facebook page Bloom and Focus.
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