WOW Word-Of-the-Week #332: Gratitude

December 13, 2010 by  

Gratitude – a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation.

How often do you feel a sense of gratitude? Are you thankful for what you have? Do you appreciate your life and the people in it?

Elizabeth Edwards

This week it was announced that Elizabeth Edward’s doctors told her that it would be unproductive to continue her cancer treatments. She was told she may have up to a couple of months of life left.

She issued this statement on her Facebook page. “The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human. But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world. The days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful.”

“It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel towards everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.”

The following day Elizabeth passed. It made me feel sad because she was just too young to die. It also brought up memories of my good friend Dixie who used to say, “You just never know when your time will be up. You could step off a curb and get hit by a bus.” Dixie died in 2006 from a very fast and aggressive form of cancer. I don’t want to be morbid, but we are all going to die. We just don’t know when.

This week focus on feeling gratitude. Do the Holidays typically cause you to feel stress? Is it a challenge to spend time with some family members? If you had only a couple of months of life left would you feel differently?

Reader Responses

“She was a great woman and I felt sad too.” – Elaine

“I find the importance of gratitude every single day of my life. WE ARE HERE, Susan. We can make a difference in other people’s lives with an attitude of gratitude. These last few days have offered me great examples. On Saturday, I took my father-in-law and his cousin for a leisurely lunch at a very nice restaurant in Milwaukee, WI, and afterward we watched the Marquette-Wisconsin basketball game. The lunch, the game tickets were all on me. I wanted to treat my father-in-law for all that he and his wife do for our two girls, especially baby-sitting. And there are not a lot of opportunities when he can catch up with his cousin, who is about 15 years younger than he is. The gratitude went both ways on Saturday. Yesterday I was in the Milwaukee area once again for a wake. While there were warnings about the weather on Wisconsin’s roads, I was able to make my way up safely and pay my respects to a former Marquette basketball coach and his family. The coach was always very welcoming and gracious to me during my lifetime. I wanted to show my gratitud to his widow and family. Because our days our numbered here, we have to make the most of them and show gratitude to those we love. The last two nights, my two-year-old wanted my attention when she was put to bed. So, I held her and talked to her until she fell asleep. I was grateful to be able to take that time with her. My wife and I also make sure that we can take the last two weeks off in December so that we can be home with our two- and nine-year-old girls. I am reminded of a song by 10,000 Maniacs entitled “These Are The Days,” that sums up beautifully how we have to take advantage of those days and moments that are so fleeting. So, I always try not to put off what I can do NOW! I agree with you about the sadness of the passing of Elizabeth Edwards. She was an incredible woman who truly put others before herself, even when she was betrayed. We need to emulate people like her in our daily lives. She gave the full, last measure of her life. May God rest her soul. Thank you, Susan. Great word. Take care. Happy holidays!” – “Warrior” Joe

“I love this one this week – I’m going to print it off and put it on my fridge :)” – Love ya, A

“I appreciated your WOW more so today than usual – this email has two sides and it can be morbid but that’s a choice we make or we can take on the challenge to enjoy LIFE!” – Brenda