First of all, the gratitudes. I want to sincerely thank everyone who has e-mailed me and left comments on Self Help Daily, as well as Cat Pause. Losing a beloved pet is uncommonly painful and when it’s one you had for over 20 years, the loss is staggering. Your kind words have meant a lot. You just never know what sort of an impact a kind word or gesture will have on someone.
The fact that she died right in the middle of a national disaster in our area (devastating ice storm) almost seems like a special consideration from God. With so much going on – and so many people suffering right now – maybe it’s all actually helping me to cope with losing this beautiful member of our family. Sure, she was covered with fur, had whiskers, and walked on all fours – but make no mistake about it, she was family and this is going to hurt for a long time.
I’ve noticed that throughout the ice storm that people in our area are pulling together in a way that warms the heart. We’ve all found ourselves doing things for others and thinking of them before ourselves. What a shame that that sort of mentality can’t just stay in place for good.
Why does it always take the worst to bring out the best?
We have our power on, but unfortunately, many people are still in the dark – and cold.I hope you’ll remember them in your thoughts and prayers.
A few things I’ve learned from all of this:
- Everyone should have an emergency kit in place. It should contain things such as flashlights, matches, extra candles, Tylenol, allergy medicine (if needed), etc. I blew it big time with this. In fact, I have a particular medication that I have to take daily (a thyroid replacement pill). I was so clever that I almost let it run out. Those of us who rely on a medication should never allow it to get lower than a week’s worth.
- Every pantry should contain non-perishable food items and foods that wouldn’t require a can opener. I’m all for keeping a hand held can opener on hand, but the little cusses can easily break. Dry milk, packages of fruit, raisins, cereal, beets, canned tomatoes, bean salad… I did better in this area because with a large family, I always have food on hand. If I don’t, they get cranky.
- Complaining doesn’t do anybody any good whatsoever. Personally, I’m not a complainer. I took after my dad in that regard. I got his “roll with the punches” type of nature (along with his obsession with planting flowers, drinking coffee, and eating anything that doesn’t eat us first.) Maybe it’s because I tend to not to gripe, but gripers puzzle me. I mean, why spend time mouthing, whining, and complaining when you could be putting that energy toward something that counts? Besides, isn’t complaining a selfish act when you think about it? The griper isn’t thinking about the people around her/him when they complain. If they were, they would do everything they could to lift everyone’s spirits, not lower them. I was recently stranded with 7 other people for a week. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that (with tiny exceptions) they weren’t complainers.
- That brings me to the final lesson. The WHOs in your life are ever so much more important than the WHATs in your life. Furniture, houses, cars, clothes, even purses and jewelry are diddly squat. When unpleasantness enters your life, it’s the faces you love that will see you through – not the things you love.
It’s something I preach and teach to anyone who will listen (okay, even to those who won’t) – cultivate, nurture, pamper, and prize the people in your life. They aren’t perfect, but if you’ll take a good, honest look inward – you’ll realize that you aren’t either. Yet, you want to be loved in spite of your flaws, right? You expect people to treat you with respect and kindness. Of course you do! You deserve that… and so do the people in your life.
Start overlooking little flaws more often, you’ll benefit as much as anyone. If someone does something nice for you, thank them from the bottom of your heart. Never allow yourself to become the sort of person who is never satisfied with what others do.
My oldest daughter, Emily, and her boyfriend Dill bought pizza for the gang several times during the week. He knew that my favorite pizza topping was green olives and he made sure to get those each time. Even though I’m one of the only ones that eats them! I never asked him to get them for me, he just did. He’s my buddy and he helped make the week easier. He always has a smile on his face and mischief up his sleeve which makes him a perfect fit for this family.
My youngest daughter Stephany and her boyfriend, Rusty, were also a great deal of help. They ran countless errands and never complained once. Rusty also helped my husband a great deal with propane heaters, the generator, etc. He tickles me – he’s extremely young but never backs down from trying anything. He, too, is my buddy. 🙂
I thought about Rusty and Dill earlier. While losing Prissy is a huge loss – these two characters are huge finds. They’re family to me and I know they’ll be a part of our family for the rest of our lives. My mischievous Dill and Handyman Rusty!
It’s all about pitching in and doing what you can, when you can, for the good of everyone who’s sharing your particular boat. Don’t rock the boat by being a grouch or make people seasick by being a whiner. Just keep rowing along. Most of all, never feel sorry for yourself. Someone, somewhere is always going through a much harder time than you’ll ever realize.
While the saying’s true: It’s not how many times life knocks you down that matters, it’s how many times you get back up – I’d be quick to add something. If you get back up with a chip on your shoulder or a “How could this happen to me” attitude, you’d be better off staying down.. out of everyone else’s way!
I hope all of you are warm, safe, well, smiling, and have all of your needs met. Most of all, I hope you’re surrounded by people who make you laugh and feel good to be alive. I’m very thankful for my family (husband, daughters, boyfriends, cats, and even a hamster) – they’re my treasure.
Ummm, can I add my coffee pot to the list? Sure I know it’s a possession, but….. I’m adding it.