Chapter 36. A Posture of Gratitude: How I Live with a Grateful Heart

Dear Matthew, . . .

My pen stops. And so does my heart.

I try to steady myself, to not smear ink across fresh paper.

Instead, it's my mascara that smears in puddles of fresh tears.

Never are the words so difficult to write as they are on the sacred handful of days tucked between Christmas and New Year's Day, sheltered from harsh December snows by two epic holidays and the warmth of a vacation at home.

One of the most emotionally difficult things I've done to live out a posture of gratitude is to write letters to my children in that wintry snatch of time; letters that they will not receive until I'm gone. And until the publication of this book, letters they never even knew I was writing.

Sitting down to ponder what the future might look like for Claire and Matthew, I scrawl my thoughts mingled with words of encouragement, showering blessings on their lives.

I attempt to impart the kind of motherly wisdom that comes with age and loving deeply. I strive to remind them of who they are, and I ask them who they've become. I wonder about their journeys, about their homes and loves and children. And I remind them of me and how much I'm missing them. How much I'm wishing I could be there to see them mother and father their own little ones.

I tell them how immensely grateful I am to have been their mother. I describe the immeasurable joy they brought into my years on earth; how they colored each of my days with dazzling beauty and ...

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