Spring Ahead with Gratitude

Spring weather has finally arrived for those of us who live in the Northeastern part of the United States. In Upstate New York, the last vestiges of snow are disappearing, and I can see glimpses of slightly green grass. Warmer temperatures will change my mood after a long winter of cold and dark days.

However, I think back to late April 2020 when my wife was taken to the local hospital on a warm Friday evening. As I stood in my driveway as the ambulance backed out and began the trip to the hospital, I stood silently for several minutes. My daughter was in the garage and asked me what was wrong. I told her I believed her mother was making the final trip to the hospital and would probably not be returning to the home she had built. It was the beginning of the pandemic, and being able to see my wife at the hospital would be a problem for me until she entered the hospice program a few weeks later. I remember how difficult it was during those days and how I felt so much pain and sadness. I could not see any hope and felt alone. As I now look back after almost three years, I pause to give thanks for what I call the blessings I received during those very trying days.

I am grateful to the many nurses who ensured I had FaceTime daily with my wife, as I could not be at the hospital. I thank the many social workers who called me to update me on my wife’s condition and check to see if I was ok. I thank my adult children who stayed with me and shared stories about their mother as we shared meals and laughs and did what their mother would want us to do: support each other.

I thank Fred Colby, whom I contacted from my wife’s deathbed and who offered me words of comfort and support as a fellow widower. I thank God for Herb Knoll, who accepted me into the Widowers Support Network – Members Only and offered solace and prayers. I thank, at the time, over 100 brothers who reached out to me and told me they were with me and provided support and strength.

I am grateful to the Hospice Medical physician who sat me down and told me he, too, was a widower and had lost a teenage son to cancer. He shared his story with me and became a source of support. I thanked the numerous security officers who would escort me when I returned to my wife’s room later in the evening and ensured I was comfortable and content. I am grateful to the many nurses and other staff at the hospital who made sure in the final days, I had food and was taking care of myself. I am most grateful to my grief counselor, who stood by me and continues supporting me along my grief journey.

I thank the many friends who reached out to me and continue to support me. I thank my neighbors who brought food to us after my wife died and offered to run errands and do whatever they could to help us. I also thank the administrators, who would stop by and check in on us to ensure they were serving our needs.

As Spring arrives and I move forward, I thank everyone who helped and continues to help me. Yes, Spring has its challenges for me as it brings me back to a sad and painful time, but it also reminds me I am not alone, and I give thanks to the many people who continue to shower me with blessings: for that, I am most grateful.

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