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Reflections on Finding Gratitude from Nicole

Nicole facilitates our Living Thankfully group on Wednesday mornings at 10:15. Here she reflects on how , after a painful event, she realized the importance of, and worked to recover gratitude in her own life.

I have always equated taking a long look at what I am grateful for with the beginning of November. I was born on the 26th of November so I have always been blessed to have lots of people together around that date. Today I look at being thankful for many things throughout the day and I write down five gratitudes in a journal at the end of each day. I have done this to remind myself of all the blessings I have had throughout the months. This year was obviously difficult for many of us, having gone through all those months of isolation. This year I had some serious changes happen to my life. I lost a very important and vital person who has been a huge part of my life since I was 17. Joe, my friend, died suddenly from a massive stroke on April 11. It has shaken me to my core. I have had many losses over the years and he was always there to comfort me. I never really imagined what life would look like without him, and I had relied on him a lot. At the beginning of this shock, I was not able to even think.

I started feeling very resentful and forgot about my gratitude journal. I was so angry and lost without my consistent confidant. I cried a lot. I still cry a lot. I had to feel a lot of really uncomfortable emotions. I have changed and not because I wanted to but because I had to continue to live and accept this loss. I shared my pain with friends, family and peers. I felt as if I had a huge hole in my heart and wasn't sure how to fill it up. I started reaching out to others for support and care. I have found that there are many places that I can connect to. I have a recovery community, an artistic community, a spiritual community and a wonderful community here at Connections Peer Support Center.

I have been able to write in my gratitude journal again and take stock in the consistency of the people in my life. I wake up grateful for my home, health, cat and life. I remind myself that I did lose Joe and now instead of counting as a loss, I thank God for him to have been in my life for 31 years. Many people have not had this incredible gift. I am still very sad, but I do appreciate everything and everybody in my life more than ever before. So although he is gone, he has left me with a very full world that I never would have developed had he been alive. I am a truly thankful and grateful person and member of the Portsmouth community at large and Connections Peer Support Center more specifically. Thank you all for being there for me.

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