The Counting of Blessings

Every morning I take a picture of my son while he sleeps. Sometimes it’s a foot sticking out of the quilt. Sometimes it’s his hand, fingers intertwined, and sometimes it’s his sweet closed eyes and dreaming face.

Why?

Because moments are fleeting.

Sure, we know. We’ve heard that before. But in this season of losing my momma, the rate at which time passes has come front and center.

Years go by in a blink. Pregnancy, toddler, ten year old, teen. I try to embrace these moments of motherhood. I can’t make time stand still, but a photo can. So, each morning, I take a picture so I can remember daily moments years from now.

This grief journey brings light to a lot of things. People have stepped up and into this mess of blurred-between-the-lines-moments that accompany loss.

On one of my posts, Jenna, who blogs at The Painted Apron, commented something that has stuck with me since.

She said, “I handle my grief every day by counting the blessings I do have.”

The part that climbed into my pocket?

every day

Not some days. Not just on Tuesdays. Not just on sunny days. Not just on anniversary days. Not just on holidays. Not just on ‘we miss the person so much’ days.

every day

“handle my grief every day”

For me, this is quite profound. There are a lot of books out there and tons of advice floating around about grief. I’ve been through loss before. I’ve always thought that it was just this thing that takes about a year to get over.

But everybody I know, that’s endured huge loss has said: you don’t, get over it.

Recently, I was so very homesick. I hadn’t seen my dad since my momma’s life celebration, so my son and I went to see him.

One evening, we went to a yard sale. I spotted some books and stepped over to take a look. Several caught my eye, including this one:

book I got while visiting my dad

Immediately, Jenna’s words came to mind: “counting the blessings I do have.”

There were two identical books. I bought them both. Inside, there are daily spaces to fill in and also, longer writing prompts.

the inside of a gratitude book I bought
writing prompt in the book I bought
another writing prompt in the book I got

I’ve been a ‘counter of blessings’ person for many years, the concept of this isn’t new. I’ve also written ‘thankful lists’ randomly here and there. They, like the pictures of my son, seem to capture a moment in time.

Time in loss is a bit tricky. The more time goes by, they say, the more healing. But the more time that goes by, the longer it’s been since I’ve seen my momma.

Also, in the months just past loss, the days whiz by. If I’m not noticing the miracles that lie in them, how will I remember them?

I think I will fill these books up. Maybe it’ll be with my family’s laughs and smiles, my dad’s hugs, or my momma’s memories.

Thank you, Jenna, for the reminder that being grateful in all of this is still ok.

Thank you for reading.

Jessica

©️Copyright 2022 Unmeasured Journeys

19 thoughts on “The Counting of Blessings

  1. This was such a good idea Jessica and I’m glad your blogging buddy Jenna’s words helped you out. I am sure you will get much satisfaction writing about blessings, just as you do expressing them here in your blog. My friend Ann Marie, whom I mentioned in my tribute to Marge the other day, gave me a blessings bottle. She made it for me and dropped it off one day. It is a mason jar, with a blue lid and some contact paper around the outside of the bottle. She printed out the word “Blessings” and cut it to fit the bottle, then pasted it on the contact paper and dropped a small pad of sticky notes inside the bottle. Gratitude for little things in life goes a long way.

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    • Wow! How nice that she made that for you. What a wonderful idea. I made a Laugh Jar once and anytime my kiddo or I had belly laughs, we’d write down why/what happened and put them in there. Even now, those papers make us laugh. I have some mason jars- I think I’ll make a “Blessings” jar. Maybe I’ll put one in every room- to encourage my family to write things, too. Thank you so much for your comments and for sharing the jar idea. Maybe somebody else will read your comments and do it, too. That’d be pretty cool.

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  2. I think that is excellent advice! You’re right, you never really get over a profound loss. You learn to live with it, but it’s always there. All you can do is manage it and figure out a way to live your life in this new, and unwanted, reality. I’m so glad you found that comment and that it resonated with you!

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  3. Jessica, I am so happy that my words helped you! It is truly amazing how much a few words or silent prayers from a friend can help with your pain. I too have found that writing down a gratitude word or two everyday can be incredibly helpful to glance at throughout the day when you find yourself sinking to a low level. The gratitude journals you found are a “Godwink.” Many uncanny coincidences can only be explained by a Godwink, an event or personal experience, so astonishing that it is seen as a sign of divine presence, especially when perceived as the answer to a prayer…God placed those journals in your hand right when you needed them…
    ❤️ Jenna

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    • Oh my goodness. All my life I’ve been told I wear my heart on my sleeve too much- the general idea was that I should stop. I did for awhile, I stopped being my authentic, until I dug around in why not wearing my heart on my sleeve didn’t fit for me. So, I went back to it. Being me. So, that’s your heads up that this about to get mushy. ❤️

      Your last line, when I read it, I burst out bawling. I believe in divine timing. I just hadn’t quite added it up. ❤️ So, thank you for that.

      Your words on that post, and several since, they sit in my heart space like a kerosene lamp in one of those old fashioned cabins. The light keeps flickering even when sunsets come early and the wind blows. Like you mentioned, a few words or silent prayers from a friend, can be so helpful.

      I’m reading a book right now called, “Comfort For the Grieving Adult Child’s Heart- Hope and Healing After Losing Your Parent.” It talks about how when we lose someone it helps us to help others when they lose someone.

      That’s what you have done really well for me. You’ve been open about your losses and stuck out a hand for me during mine. There’s no repayment for that. I cannot think of one thing even being close to big enough to thank you for that. My heart on my sleeve is showing. With my whole heart, I thank you. ❤️

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  4. This is a wonderful post. I do keep a gratitude journal, but I do not write in it every day. Probably about once a week. I write until I’ve thought of 20 – 25 things, and just having to think up things helps me remember or notice the good things. My son’s best friend was killed by a drunk driver just two days ago. I found out yesterday while we are traveling. My heart hurts so much because my son hurts. Your post reminds me to use my gratitude journal to get through this.

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    • Oh my gosh Betty, two days ago????? Oh nooooo. That’s heartbreaking. I am sooooo sorry for his and your loss and that he is hurting. Mommas’ hearts burst wide open for our kids, you heart must be heavy. I am praying for you, your son, and your family. There are no words for a seemingly senseless loss. My momma didn’t make sense, either does your son’s best friend. I am here if you need anything. You have my email.

      I am happy that this post offers something helpful for you. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have lost people that I have loved over the years as we all do. Losing someone is a hard thing to live through. I lost my father when I was a senior in high school and my mother a few years later. Although it might be different for everyone, at some point my grief and pain turned into the sharing of happy memories. Once the happy memories outnumbered the tears, it seemed that my grief had passed (or least evolved). No one is gone if they are remembered. ❤

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    • Oh my goodness gracious, my cup runneth over with your words. That is something to look forward to, the sharing of happy memories part. LOVE the ‘outnumbered the tears’ part. Thank you for that. My gosh, the tears, whew, they fall often. It’s the missing that feels so hard. Maybe I will move into the happy memory sharing, too. I did share something about her dancing on my art blog a few days ago. The happy memories are trickling in a little. I appreciate you telling me how it was for you. Brings hope. Thank you.

      I am sorry you lost your mom and your dad. Parent loss feels like it’s own category to me. Very hard at times. I am happy you commented, thank you.

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  6. I lost my first son a very long time ago. You don’t get over it, but the pain lessens. It’s no longer an open wound. But it still brings tears to my eyes even though it’s been a very long time. What you’re doing here by writing about your grief is a great help. I wish I would have known about grief counseling back then. Instead, I suffered in silence. I am grateful for your blog.

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    • Hi. I am so sorry to hear that you lost your son and that you suffered in silence. It seems like in years past, talking out loud about such things wasn’t really done much. I rememer when I had a couple miscarriages and a twin loss, NOBODY wanted to discuss it. Those were hard to pick up the pieces from. Seems like these days, talking somewhat openly about grief is more accepted. Not completely, but more so than it was. I feel lucky that I am a writer by nature and that my momma liked this blog and my writing. I feel like that gives me a little push to write about such things.

      Thank you for saying you are grateful for my blog. I’ll tell ya, when I started this blog in 2015, I decided that if my writing resonated with just one person, then I am doing the right things.

      You have been a constant support to me through these last few months. You support both my blogs and are just flat out kind. I won’t forget it. Ever. I appreciate it. Thank you.

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