A Christmas So Special

Yesterday, with carols blaring on my stereo, I finished decorating my house for Christmas. Since I started the day after Thanksgiving, and this is the ninth of December, I either have a big house, or lots and lots of decorations. Actually the latter is the true answer. And I’m a whole-house decorator, really into handmade gifts, flower arrangements, garlands and lights galore. I want my home to feel like It’s having a Hallmark moment.

Dining Room

Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still have stockings and ornaments that I made the first year I was married back in 1962. The jester stocking is my son’s. The medieval hunting boot was my history loving husband’s, and mine is a plush velvet French style shoe, and after my mother passed away, I made a cowboy boot for my dad. We had little money in those days as my husband started out in the USAF, but all our friends were in the same boat, so we never knew the difference.

Stockings and Old Garland

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1965, Vietnam interrupted a year of our lives and while my husband was gone, our son and I managed as best we could. We lived temporarily in St. Louis, MO, and Famous Barr Department Store had a wonderful Christmas area with specialty items not found in other stores. I remember walking around totally transfixed. I decided to splurge $6.95 on a nine-foot garland that had old fashioned lanterns on it. In those days and with my budget, that was a lot of money, but I knew it would look so nice above the stockings I had made years before. Can you believe I have used that garland every year since without replacing even a single bulb? That’s fifty-two years! Fifty-two years of frequent moves to cold and hot, wet and dry climates with the decorations often exposed to those weather conditions. When I put that garland up this year, one bulb didn’t light, but it didn’t matter, it has definitely earned its place in my home forever!

Flower Arrangement

Livingroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Christmas tree is adorned with reminders of places we’ve lived or to which we’ve traveled: Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Bulgaria, Romania, France, Italy, Scotland, Egypt, Poland, Russia, and England, to name a few. There’s also a family area with ornaments with the names of my son, his soon-to-be wife, my grandson, me, my sister, niece, and even for my late kitties, Annie and Pippi. Not to be forgotten are two best-friend ornaments, and some shiny plain ones to add filler, color and brilliance. Most importantly, there’s the Nativity ornament and the tree topping angel to represent the meaning of this blessed holiday.

Angel

P1010900

 

 

 

Christmas, 2017 is one of those extra special Christmases, because in eight days my son, Rob, will marry, Florence, the woman of his dreams and my grandson, Colby, will be his best man. Then we all will celebrate Christmas together, eating and singing carols in front of the fire. Doesn’t that sound to you like A Christmas So Special?

 

Coco Ihle is the author of SHE HAD TO KNOW, an atmospheric traditional mystery set mainly in Scotland.

Join her here each 11th of the month.

 

 

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Taking “O” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the h day of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “O” things.

I am especially grateful for:Oxygen. Unless one’s lungs are compromised or the air is too polluted to breathe, we take oxygen for granted. It is the most common element on earth, making up almost 50% of the earth’s mass, approximately 25% of the air, 90% of water and 65% of the human body. Without oxygen, we simply could not live. We couldn’t breathe, our bodies would desiccate, and the earth itself would be hostile. As I sip my bottle of spring water and breathe deeply of the mostly fresh air, I will give thanks for the simple and common element that makes our lives possible.

Order. For the most part, lives are ordered even though things often feel chaotic. We are involved in a dance of order. The earth is spinning on its axis at about 1000 miles per hour and it is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 mph. The sun is racing around the Milky Way Galaxy at 483,000 mph. And the galaxy is moving at perhaps 2,237,000 mph. The entire universe is also moving and expanding, at untold speeds. The planets revolve around the sun in such an orderly manner that they don’t bump into one another (at least not any more. It is possible that at the birth of our solar system, many bodies orbited the sun, but they crashed into each other, the stronger ones assimilating or annihilating the weaker ones, until we ended up with the order we have today.) The sun rises every morning (or rather we have the illusion of the sun rising because of course, it is not the sun that rises but the earth that turns) while the moon follows it’s own path. On a more personal plane, we easily fall into habits (and what are habits if not the order of our lives). So today, I will take with gratitude the order that underlies the chaos of my life.

Opportunity. So often we feel as if we are tied to the order of our life, that opportunity has passed us by, but opportunities do occasionally visit our lives. To be honest, often those opportunities seem more like problems, but if we look at the big picture, opportunities abound. It might take more courage than we have to make use of those opportunities, or we might have made other choices, but still, we always have opportunities, if only the opportunity to choose or to turn away. I will try to be more cognizant of the opportunities that present themselves, and be grateful for whatever opportunities come my way.

So, what “O” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Taking “N” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the fourteenth post for this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “N” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Nice. Nice is one of those words that we all use, though we tend to think it’s a bit weak and insipid. I like “nice,” though. I like nice people, nice things, nice days. Things don’t always have to be spectacular, nice is often good enough and comfortable besides. So today I will be grateful for all the nice things in my life.

Night. This is the time of year I used to unhappily call the “creeping darkness,” when the nights get progressively desert sunsetlonger. And yet, without night, we’d be left with unremitting sun, no moon and stars, a life that would be glaringly the same day after day after day. I won’t be taking night for granted tonight but will take it for gratitude.

Nonconformity. We take for granted that we can be who we want without having to conform to strict codes of dress or ways of thinking, yet this was not always so. Today I will take with gratitude the nonconformity, the individualism in my life.

Numbers. We take numbers for granted, but what would we do without them? How would we count or account? We’d live in a world of simplicity, of course, where the only counting would be the number of fingers we could hold up. (Though, of course, we wouldn’t have a name for that number!) So today I will be grateful for numbers.

Nutrition. Even in a culture where so many of our foods are lacking in nutrition (and hence can’t really be called food) there are nutritious foods to eat. We take for granted that our grocery stores will always be stocked with nutritious foods, though there could come a time when all our foods are devoid of nutrition. So, until then, I will be grateful for nutrition.

So, what “N” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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When You Are Making Your Christmas Lists . . .

When you are making your Christmas lists, don’t forget books!!

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Taking “M” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the thirteenth post of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “M” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Memory. We take our memories for granted since we remember what we remember and don’t remember that we don’t remember what we no longer remember. The continuity of our very being depends on memory. We define ourselves by what we have done or thought, who we have loved, who has loved us. If we had to approach each moment as if it were fresh with no past, who would we be? Would we still be us? Of course we would still be us, but we might not feel like us. We’d feel . . . fragmented, adrift, alone. Memory connects us not just to our pasts but to each other, and it connects us to those who are no longer with us here on earth. Today I will be taking memory for gratitude, and give thanks that I can remember everything I remember.

Moon. Moons go through cycles, from full moons to gibbous moons to crescent moons to new moons and back through the cycle night after night across the eons. Ancient lore speaks of a time when there was no moon, before the earth captured this satellite into its orbit, but whether the moon has always been a companion to earth or is a relative newcomer, the fact is that the moon now affects us more than we ever know. Seems fitting that just a few days past the full moon, I am evoking a mood of gratitude for the moon and for everything in my life that is valuable.

Miracles. We take life’s little miracles for granted. The other day I happened to notice a fiery red rose in the chill December air, which reminded me that we often can’t predict the joys that life will bring or when life will bring them. Even if this flower bloomed because of turmoil in the earth’s ecosystem, it is still a miracle. Other miracles are the connections we feel when we exchange smiles or laughter; the miracle of reading — we can read the strange symbols called the alphabet, and understand what is in a writer’s mind; the miracle of the internet. What I write here, people all over the world can read. Truly a miracle! So today I will be taking for gratitude life’s little miracles (though truly, is there such a thing as a little miracle?).

So, what “M” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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And Now a Word From Our Sponsor by Pat Bertram

When you are making out your Christmas lists, be sure to browse the catalog of books from Indigo Sea Press. Below is the collection of my titles for you to consider for your bookish friends, and for yourself too, of course, if you haven’t already read these books.

Grief: The Great Yearning for those who need the comfort of knowing they are not alone in their sorrow and those want to or need to learn more about the mystery of grief.

Click here to read the first chapter of Grief: The Great Yearning

Click here to buy Grief: The Great Yearning

Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare for those who love fun, dance, murder, mystery, older women who live with all the verve and nerve of the young, and me! (The main character is named Pat.)

Click here to read the first chapter of Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare

Click here to buy Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare

Daughter Am I for those who love road trips, treasure hunts, buried family secrets, mysteries, gangsters, young women coming of age and old folks who refuse to admit their age.

Click here to read the first chapter of Daughter Am I

Click here to buy Daughter Am I

Light Bringer for those who love precocious babies, aliens, conspiracy theories, secret underground laboratories, lost identities, and manipulative international corporations.

Click here to read the first chapter of Light Bringer

Click here to buy Light Bringer

A Spark of Heavenly Fire for those who love conspiracies with a medical twist and for those who wonder what it would be like if the world were to go through another pandemic.

Click here to read the first chapter of A Spark of Heavenly Fire

Click here to buy A Spark of Heavenly Fire

More Deaths Than One for those who like conspiracy theories, mind control experiments, the Vietnam era and its aftermath, and a bit of otherworldly strange midst the horror.

Click here to read the first chapter of More Deaths Than One

Click here to buy More Deaths Than One

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Taking “L” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the twelfth such post of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “L” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Life. We generally take life for granted. After losing someone important to us, we pay attention to life, either grateful we still have it or regretful that the dead don’t, but gradually we slip back into taking life for granted. It makes sense — we live life, though we don’t truly know what it is, why it is, or where it comes from. Most people think they know, but truly all we have are beliefs if we’re religious or theories if we’re scientific. Me? I’m trying just to be, to live, and to take my life with gratitude.

Laughter. Laughter is another of those things we take for granted, probably because laughter is a spontaneous reaction. If something is funny, we laugh. If we’re enjoying ourselves, we laugh. We seldom laugh when we are alone, which is too bad. Among other things, laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, increases memory, improves alertness and boosts creativity. Apparently, though, voluntary laughter (faked laughtrainbower) has just as many benefits, so perhaps someday (when no one is around to hear) I will learn to laugh alone. Meantime, I will take any laughter I can get with gratitude.

Light. Light is probably the thing we take most for granted. Electric light, firelight, starlight, sunlight, moonlight, ambient light, spectrum of light (color). Light just is. Today (and every day) I will take light for gratitude, and be grateful I can see the many colorful effects of light.

Learning. We are creatures with immense potential for learning, yet we so often take that ability for granted. Learning comes naturally, whether it’s learning song lyrics or how to use a new device. We just take for granted that with a bit of focus, we will learn. It’s almost inconceivable for us not to learn. So I will learn to take this ability for gratitude.

Love. There are so many kinds of love — romantic love, self-love, and motherly love; love of books, music, art; joie de vivre; friendship — that it’s hard not to take at least some form of love for granted. Today, and all days, I will take the love that comes my way with gratitude.

So, what “L” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Taking “K” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the eleventh such post of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “K” things.

I am especially grateful for:

Kindness. We are all kinder than we think we are, though often that kindness is offhand since we become too distracted by the demands of our lives to focus on others. I was fortunate to find much kindness online after the death of my life mate/soul mate. Because I blogged about the maelstrom of emotions we call grief, trying to make sense of what I was going through, I met others who were dealing with the same process. The kindness of these strangers, these women I’ve never met, gave me the courage to embrace the agony of losing my mate, to face it head on, arms open wide. They gave me hope when it seemed I’d never move past the agony of loss, helped me make sense of the senselessness of death (or at least to accept it). They opened their hearts to me. I never took their kindness for granted — I appreciated every word of support — I’ve even expressed my appreciation, but today I want to make it official that I am not taking kindness for granted, but am taking it for gratitude.

Kindred spirits: Those women (and a few men) who offered support in my grief were kindred spirits, walking the same path I did, feeling the same losses, honoring our dead with our sorrow. I am very grateful to these kindred spirits and to the authors (kindred spirits indeed!) who have enriched my life with their words.

Knowledge. We are all knowledgeable in many ways, though we often take this knowledge for granted. We know how to walk, yet only a few of us ever remember the laborious process of learning first how to crawl and then how to stand on our own two feet. I am not one of those who remember, so I tend to take this basic knowledge for granted, as I do most of what I know. I know how to read and write, to add and subtract, to talk and listen. I know how it feels to dance and to grieve, to love and to laugh. I know even more esoteric things, such as mythology, secret histories, quantum mechanics (well, not a lot, just the basics, which I learned for the fun of it). I am always seeking more knowledge in my quest for wisdom, so I tend to take for granted what I have already learned. But today, I will take my knowledge for gratitude.

Kilter. For the most part, contrary to popular belief and Murphy’s law, things are generally in order and remain there until entropy enters the picture. A friend of mine signs her emails, “The universe is unfolding as it should.” If this is true, then things are, by definition, in kilter. (Speaking of knowledge, we can’t always take for granted that the “knowledge” we come across is true. For example, if you Google “kilter,” the first definition you will find is: out of harmony or balance. This is, in fact, the definition of “out of kilter.” “Kilter” means in order or in balance.)

Knobs. I take knobs for granted, but they sure do make it easier to open cabinets and drawers, so today, I will take knobs for gratitude.

So, what “K” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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Hidden Southern Culture by Maribeth Shanley

I’ve lived in the south for half my life. In the depths of my heart, I have never liked the southern environment.

For many southern whites, racism and hatred, coupled with a suspicion of different people are alive and well. That suspicion and hatred are evident when another white person looks your way and rolls her eyes at an old black man sitting on a bench in front of a grocery store. As a gesture of agreement, I presume the recipient is supposed to respond with a similar eye roll. When I encountered such a glance, I returned a glare of disdain at the woman who quickly looked away then scurried to the parking lot.

Then, there are all those sneaky racist ploys on the part of southern GOP candidates as they gerrymander their districts to cut out the black voters from their district, ensuring they will win the vote. In South Carolina, for a Democrat, that devious white southern culture shows through at the voting booth, when, as a first time SC voter, you realize your choice is to either vote for the Republican or abstain from voting for most local seats. Too, voter suppression is obvious when town mayors shut down the Sunday polls during an election, thus, curtailing the Souls to the Polls vote where preachers load their congregation onto buses and drive them to the polls so they can vote.

Most of my time in the south, I lived in Tennessee. Racism was evident, especially with the display of the Confederate flag. The excuse for openly touting the symbol was wrapped up in the rationalization of a demonstration of one’s southern heritage. My skin crawls when I see that symbol of oppression whose history included lynchings.

I once wrote a Letter to the Editor of THE TENNESSEAN about the heritage equation. In that letter, I compared the impact of the flag for blacks with the impact of the Nazi flag for Jews. The day my letter was published, I received several hateful phone calls from males identifying themselves as Sons of the Confederacy. I also received a letter from a woman who thanked me for making the comparison as she had always discussed her southern heritage in the same manner. She wrote that now she understood and promised never to make that comparison again.

Living in Tennessee was tough enough. However, the real challenge has been my life in South Carolina, the first State to secede from the United States of America. The South Carolina Declaration of Secession stated that the reason for secession had to do with the issue of slavery which the wealthy planter class was not willing to relinquish. I searched the internet for that Secession statement shortly after moving to South Carolina. I did because I knew in my heart that there was a hidden darkness which still exists here.

I also began to detect that there was a hidden culture rich in history and tradition that existed. I could feel it in the small southern towns. So I began to explore that culture only to find that it had a lot to do with a particular crop grown in Antebellum South Carolina.

During the colonial period, Coastal Carolina was the largest producer of rice in America, and it happened by accident.

Around the year 1685, a ship sailing from Madagascar was caught in a fierce storm off the coast of South Carolina. The ship sought refuge in the Charleston Harbor. While being repaired the ship’s captain met a prominent planter who was known to be the first English settler in the Charleston area. The captain and the gentleman, Henry Woodard, spent time discussing commerce. When the ship was repaired, and the captain and crew were to make their way to their original destination, the captain gave a bag of rice to Woodard who experimented with the rice. The resulting crop was so good that shortly after rice became the main cash crop for the Coastal river plantations of South Carolina.

Rice farming was labor intensive. It required workers who not only possess knowledge of the land but of the cultivation of the rice crop. Growing and harvesting required all this and lots of free labor working long, painful hours to keep the planter class living the lives of luxury to which they were accustomed. Thus, the planters needed an African for the plantations specializing in rice growing. Coastal West African soil was similar to that of Coastal South Carolina. The Coastal West African tribes were expert rice farmers. They became the target of capture as they were kidnapped then transported to South Carolina.

As I began to explore my surroundings, I soon discovered a people rich in culture and color. The culture is called Gullah. The color is the many art forms that came out of that cultivation of rice.

The modern Gullah people are the descendants of the enslaved Africans brought to the Low-Country of South Carolina for rice cultivation. Slave traders kidnapped individuals from a wealth of different ethnic groups throughout the Coastal areas of West Africa. Communication became a challenge for the slaves. Thus, a creole language called the Gullah language was born. The language influenced by a culture rich in African influences defined the uniqueness of the Gullah people. This distinction has become a badge of pride for the descendants as they carried on many of the traditions by turning them into an art.

Sweetgrass Simple        Sweetgrass Intricate     Sweetgrass Elaborate

In particular is the Sweetgrass Baskets woven mainly by females and sold to the public. Every artist brings her distinct technique to the art form.

The original “coiled” baskets brought over on the slave ships were called fanner baskets. The slaves used them to inspect the rice. The baskets were critical tools of rice production and processing. As time went on the techniques of basket weaving was passed down to descendants who turned the tool into individual expressions of art. These baskets now grace homes and museums around the world. They are purchased for their beauty and displayed in museums as a tribute to the rich culture of people stolen from their homes and brought over in chains only to serve as free labor for a class of wealthy white plantation owners. The baskets range in price and design. A small, simple basket could cost as little as $50 while an intricately designed basket could cost as much as several hundreds of dollars. Although the artist ensures the purchaser that the basket is a functional one, most basket owners place their basket(s) in their homes to be admired for the beauty of their art and artist.

Footnote: Rice remained a dominant crop for South Carolina up until the end of the Civil War. With the Emancipation came a fast decline of the wealthy rice economy. Without the free labor of slaves, rice plantations were unsustainable. In the early 1900’s rice farming disappeared from South Carolina.

 

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Taking “J” Things With Gratitude by Pat Bertram

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude. ~~ G. K. Chesterton

Just because Thanksgiving is over and November gone, there is no reason to stop being grateful, so I am going to continue with my alphabet of gratitude. Since today is the tenth such post of this surge of gratitude, I am giving thanks for “J” things. Well, one “J” thing.

I am especially grateful for:

100_1807aJeff. Although I never took Jeff — my life mate/soul mate — for granted, somehow I always took for granted that we’d be together. Even while he was dying, I took for granted that such was the way things always would be — he dying, me struggling to live. And even at the end, I took for granted that somehow he’d still be in my life, as if he would be in another room, perhaps. After he took his last breath, I was stunned by the absolute feeling of “goneness” I felt. It wasn’t as if he were in another room. It was as if an immense crater had been dug out of my life, my heart, my soul, leaving behind . . . nothing.

Even though I don’t feel him in my life any more, even though I can barely remember what our shared life was like, I always take him for gratitude. I am grateful I knew him, grateful (and honored) that he shared his life and death with me, grateful I once was so connected to another human being that his death left a hole in my life that will never be filled. I am grateful for every shared smile, every hug, every act of caring. I am grateful I found someone who understood me and knew what I meant when I spoke.

I am grateful for our electric conversations that lasted hours, days, a lifetime. We didn’t try to convince the other of our position — we each brought truth and thought to the conversation, and together we created a greater reality. There was no reason to argue — it was never about his opinion versus mine. It was about the truth — the truth as far as we could reconstruct it together. And oh, I am so grateful for that truth!

I am grateful for the time he spent with me. I am grateful for the movies we watched together, the books we shared, the ideas we developed, the businesses we created. I am grateful he stayed with me as long as possible, long enough to say everything that needed to be said.

I am grateful he set me free. I might have had to spend the rest of my years caring for a helpless invalid, but he left my life as quickly and as gracefully as he entered — between one heartbeat and the next.

I am even grateful he set me on my current path. He once told me it bothered him that because of his illness and our constrained lives, I’d lost the spontaneity I once had (ironically, that spontaneity had come from the security his presence engendered in me). I am now trying to get back that spontaneity, and will spend the rest of my life as untethered as possible.

I am grateful I once was loved. I am grateful I loved.

I am grateful that Jeff was such a major part of my life.

So, what “J” things are you taking for gratitude today?

***
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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