I often think of my sister Vivien, who died in 2010 with cancer. It is very easy to think of the negatives, and of what i am missing of the companionship we would have now. However, thinking of death and life, i wanted to put some of the blessings down here. Although my sister’s life was cut short, I think she, like me, had a lot of joy and blessings. When my loss feels overwhelming, it is good to remind myself of what I have – written more or less in chronological order, as i attach importance to all
1. I have been blessed by a loving home and upbringing, with parents that cared deeply for me and strove to help me succeed. they backed me emotionally and supported me always. Being short of money and with outside stressors did not stop them from making my sister and I a priority.
2. I have been blessed with my wider family. loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, sister, great-aunts, cousins etc. they have enriched my childhood and adulthood. thankyou for the love and laughter that has surrounded me.
3. I have been blessed by my musical skills. they, and the encouragement i was given to pursue them, have given me hours of joy over my lifetime.
4. I have been blessed by my education. the teaching and the learning have given me joy in piecing together the world and how it has been and maybe works. I have been blessed with the opportunity to enjoy education and the time to take it further, well past the age when many have to work.
5. i have been blessed by my life partner. We met when i was just 19, but 23 years later and i am still blessed by his humour, love, caring and friendship.
6. i am blessed by my work. i don’t always think this! but i have been given an opportunity to make a real and tangible difference, and that is both an honour and a privilege – as well as being something of a challenge. i am lucky to find my work rewarding and valuable.
7. i am doubly blessed by my children, who are the centre of my universe and a joy in my life. Their presence improves each day, with laughter and unconditional love.
8. i am blessed by my environment. i live in a lovely house, with a lovely conservatory in a lovely area. I don’t have to deal with pollutions, contaminants, natural and not disasters, war or famine. I am thankful for this.
9. I am blessed by my friends, whose care, chivvying and laughter have supported me in dark times and cheered away the grey.
When I count up my blessings, it would be churlish to rail against fate for those that I have lost, or the work-family sacrifices that i might be making. I have already had a good, fulfilling life and am thankful for it.
So where is 10? well i have saved it currently. I do hope to add the blessing of health and longevity or grandchildren or seeing my children grow up to be fulfilled in their lives to my list one day. i dont want to have had all my blessings yet . Maybe it will just be being able to say that I died surrounded by love. Whatever my tenth blessing is, I am still very lucky to have had the joy of the first nine.