I saw a really good posting on Facebook this morning linking loss and gratitude. It really resonated for me. I have experienced waterfalls of heavy loses and also the little ones that float downstream that we all feel from time to time. Gratitude has been my saving grace. Grief alone will take you out. Gratitude makes room for focus on the best moments of life. Expressing giving, coming from gratitude, makes it feel worth it. For me, it’s the point.
This past week my wonderful, wonderful (bears repeating twice) friends spent a day assembling dried flowers into small bouquets. We laughed, we made a huge mess, we created, we shared lunch.
Yesterday we delivered the little bouquets to a large assisted living community that we have been to before. Last months delivery in September touched the residents and those of us who delivered. I was so struck by how many elders live. The curtains are pulled, the TV is on, there is clutter everywhere to fill an emptiness. Or the room is entirely empty except for bed and a few clothes. The reality is that for many of our seniors who don’t have funds, they land in a hospital and use up the allotted Medicaid days. Then they are transferred to Acute Rehab and stay for the allotted Medicaid days. They then are delivered like a package to the sidewalk of assisted living. There is no family. There are no friends. The senior community becomes their life.
The director told me that many residents who rarely leave their rooms returned the flower jars to her and expressed such gratitude for the flowers. They talked about the flower gift amongst themselves. They looked forward to the next delivery. One gentleman wanted to meet us.
Yesterday was a gift. Many of the residents were out on a field trip to the Dollar Store. I thought how ironic since I had ordered all the little vases from the same place. A group of women in wheelchairs were in the lobby and we greeted them explaining that this month the flowers are from the farm but have been dried to last a long time. One woman said, “Oh boy! Fakey Flowers!” with much gusto and joy. That was enough to propel us with our carts down the long halls. At each door, a knock, a greeting, a possible exchange or a little surprise left on a table inside. The man who wanted to meet us thanked us profusely. There were lots of thanks. A little grandmother wanted to know what she could give us back. I said, a smile of course. That smile would melt any heart. And the mini Halloween candy she insisted we take.
I woke up a little melancholy this morning. I think for many people life is a straight line. I know for most of my artist friends it is horizontal, sliding back and forth. But this morning it feels more circular. We loop round and round. Good and bad, loss and gratitude. After all, November is fakey flower month.