What I have learned is that whatever the challenge, Gratitude is the answer.
How do I know this? Here’s my story:
Losing a baby at 15 weeks gestation is not something you ever expect or imagine would happen. In January of 2013, I experienced a traumatic miscarriage at home. I called 911 as I was home alone, and the police had to break down my door to let the paramedics in. At the hospital, I had an emergency D&C. Less than 4 hours later, I was discharged and my husband drove us to pick up our 2 year old daughter at daycare.
That night, I wrote in my gratitude journal. I was grateful that my daughter was at daycare, and grateful for the care I received from the paramedics and hospital staff. The fact that I was able to find something to be grateful for on the most challenging day of my life to date, made me realize that I had to share my gratitude practice with others.
You see, I’d been practicing gratitude for over two years at that point. Every night before bed I’d write out three things that I was grateful for from that day. This habit was so ingrained that I found a way to be grateful that night.
My book, 30 Days of Gratitude, The Gratitude Program That Will Change Your Life, was written as I healed from the loss. Years later, the lessons from my book still resonate with readers across the globe.
Sadly, the story doesn’t end there.
In November of 2014, I was pregnant for a third time. Once again I miscarried, just a few days before 12 weeks gestation. I went back to the hospital for a second D&C. A few days later, the story took a serious turn.
Two days after my surgery, I was admitted to the hospital for septic shock, caused by invasive group A strep. This is the worst kind of strep infection and it’s often fatal.
In order to help me heal, I was put into a medically induced coma for a week. I don’t remember much about this time, yet I do know that it was frightening for my loved ones. When I awoke and was feeling a bit more like myself, I started to realize what it means to truly wake up with gratitude. I was still very sick but I was awake and ALIVE! Thankfully and incredibly, I would recover fully, and there was no organ damage from the sepsis.
Every day is a gift!
This remains the only time in the past 7 years that I’ve missed writing in my gratitude journal. It was kept at my hospital bedside the entire time I was in the ICU and there is a two week gap due to my illness and coma. That life-threatening experience really taught me that every single day is a gift. And that it’s our choice to wake up with gratitude or not. I know first hand that tomorrow is not promised, so I’ve made a commitment to making the most of each day I have here on Earth.
And the first words I speak when I wake up are:
‘Thank you God for this gift of another day and for the opportunity to be of service to others and to make a difference in this world. Amen.’