Have you ever had someone in your life that just radiates joy? There are many members of my extended family that I don’t often see but one of the blessings of weddings and funerals is the rejoining of loved ones. It’s a little bit of a cliche but oh so true and I was so fortunate to see several people (who I’ve dearly missed in recent years) last month at my grandmother’s funeral.
I don’t think I had seen my sweet Aunt Kathy since my Uncle’s funeral nearly 10 years ago. But she is one of those joyful people I just can’t get enough of. I swear when she’s in a room, everything feels lighter. She makes you want to smile and just honestly, try to be a better person. A more grateful person. And before any cynics out there wonder if she is the way she is because life has been easy, let me just tell you it has not. My Aunt has dealt with so much heartache. I didn’t realize as a child but looking at her life through my adult eyes, I recognize that things she’s encountered – infertility, cancer, losing an adopted son and husband, and eventually her eyesight – well they could have made me a very bitter woman.
She is legally blind and yet when I saw her at my grandmother’s funeral, she was still emanating that joy like life had never dealt her anything but sunshine and rainbows. She has this sweet, soft voice and she felt my head and immediately said, “You cut your hair. I can tell it’s beautiful.” She put her hands on my children’s faces and said, ” I love getting your cards every year even if I can’t see them. I’m so glad to know now how pretty they all are.” She always has a kind word to say. Oh I wish I was more like her!
She is at the mercy of others when she needs to get out of the house but she lives life like the gift that we often forget it is. And I write this today not to make anyone feel sorry for her, because that’s not what she would want. I just want to remind myself and anyone else out there who might need to hear it – each day is a gift – and there is ALWAYS something you can be grateful for. Even if it’s just the ability to open your eyes and see what’s in front of you. So take a moment, practice some intentional gratitude and remember my Aunt. I hope it brightens your day.
*And because I’m a sucker for a good recipe, watch out for tomorrow’s post, where I share my Aunt Kathy’s yummy marinated salad – it’s a good one!