I'm thankful, first and foremost, to God for all of my blessings and my sorrows. I have struggled throughout this year to see the blessings to be reaped from losing a child. It hasn't always been easy, but I feel grateful that anger has not been one of the emotions I had to face. I'm amazed that I haven't been angry...it would be so easy to be. Is it because it was my 6th child? I don't know. I am grateful to have the knowledge and acceptance of my faith's teaching that death is not of God. Of course, He allows it, but He doesn't cause it. I am blessed to have a saint in Heaven interceding for me. It comforts me, sometimes, to talk to Gregory in my prayers. Sometimes I just tell him what everyone is doing...how I can see what a fun time he would have had chasing Vincent around and never catching him, stuff like that. Sometimes, I just ask him to keep praying for me because I'm still struggling to do things right down here. I'm thankful that God has provided me with knowledge, ambition, persistence and faith. I know I have nothing -- no blessings and no sorrows -- without God.
I am thankful for my family. All of them. My parents, my siblings, my husband, his parents, his siblings, our children...this year has shown me so much love through my family. I was touched by the sweet and caring way all of our siblings (both Craig's and mine) reacted to our tragedy this year. I guess they all loved us like no one else can. I pray that my children will love and care for each other half as much as I see Craig's siblings and my siblings all love and care for us and each other -- they will be very blessed!
I am thankful for so many friends. The woman who runs the home daycare where Vincent spends his days was a God-send during our time of sorrow this spring. She kept Vincent overnight and through the weekend, and I know he was loved and well cared for. She sent me messages of hope and support throughout the weeks following Gregory's death and even when we were marking the due date. She cares for Vincent as closely as a person could to how she cares for her own children. He loves her and she loves and cares for him. We've been so blessed that once we found the need for daycare, we had her as an option.
Mothers of children in my older children's classes have been a huge support to me through this year. We had places to send the children the weekend we needed to grieve our baby. I just remember thinking how grateful I was that no children were in the house that first night we went to bed after delivering Gregory. It was hard enough over the following weeks for my children to see me cry so much, but I am forever grateful that none of them had to hear their mother crying out so loudly and uncontrollably in the night as the sorrow of losing my baby broke my heart. And even after that weekend, the outpouring of support -- meals brought by friends, the attendance at Gregory's funeral, the Masses said for Gregory -- it was beyond anything I could have ever anticipated.
I am grateful for the friends I have made in the #cathsorority group on Twitter/Facebook. So many of them have been a huge support to me -- through blogs, through online discussions, and through personal relationships, too.
And bloggy-friends. I recently went and re-read Rebecca's post about Gregory from a few months ago. I re-read it every now and again. It helps tell such a good story about Rebecca's and my friendship. I often marvel at how similar our life experiences have been, but also how different our paths are as adults. The fact that our paths converged when they did can be nothing short of Divine Intervention to bring us together. I've kept up on other bloggers who have gone through similar trials, too, and it's one of those things where you wish you were alone (so no one else had to suffer) but if someone else had to suffer a similar sorrow...I was happy to be there to support and pray for them through their suffering.
My mother-in-law made Christmas ornaments for her grandkids -- a total of 5. So Dominic didn't have 5 yet and of course, neither did Vincent, so she spent time this year making their ornaments to hang on the tree this year. She gave them to the boys after Thanksgiving dinner today. First she brought out Vincent's and he looked at it and then put it back in the envelope. Then Dominic looked at this. All of a sudden a third envelope appeared and my mother-in-law gave it to me to open. I flipped it open and it had Gregory on the back, I opened it and she had made a Christmas ornament for Gregory. I startled and stunned me and brought tears to my eyes...but not really of sadness. I was so happy that she thought to remember Gregory for us in this way. Of course, Gregory won't have 5...but he'll always have this one, she put the date on the front (it's a picture of an angel). I am so grateful for this.
That's one of the things about losing Gregory the way we did. I will always remember Gregory. But I don't feel like I can expect others to remember him. And it really touched me that my mother-in-law did this because it's not like I can go around to people saying, "You know...I do have six children, I just have my baby up in Heaven." That's not how it works. So I'm grateful when other people remember that he was my baby and that he really did exist and I miss him and still love him very much.
So, I just realized this is a very rambl-ey post. (Sorry about that!) I was thinking about being thankful and grateful and everything today...and I realize that the biggest event of my life that happened this year -- well, I'm thankful that I was pregnant with my sixth child and that God saw fit to give Craig and me one more baby. And, I remind myself constantly that there are blessings to be found in my suffering and I look for them because Gregory is a blessing in many ways...not just if he made it here to Earth to live with us.
Some pictures from Thanksgiving day today
|He never cooperated for a good photo!!!|
|I think this one shows how much Helen and I favor each other :)|