All week I’ve been a grump. Blame it on a full plate and empty fuel tank.  You know how it goes…squeezing work and then writing time on my off days, hauling my kids all over town yet still catching slack for not buying the Halloween costumes in time for their school parties (hey I’ve still got six days!), catching still more slack for not wanting to spend  $39.99 on the puffy suma wrestler get-up my son yearns for, squinting my eyes at the two loads of laundry waiting to be folded as I climb the stairs each night (by now there’s three more loads crying to be washed so why bother with the first two?), watching the leaves make a dense collage on our lawn. And so it goes.

Perhaps, I’m also grumpy from my trip back East.  For the first time since my husband, Brett, passed away, I visited the hospitals and hospice where he fought and ended his long battle with cancer. I did this for writerly reasons, as research for my memoir. More on this visit at a later post, but yes, the trip left some residual clotting.  How could it not?

And then.  In the midst of feeling scattered and overwhelmed, I received an e-mail this morning from a stranger who read my recent column about leaps of faith and the courage to change in the new Colorado View Magazine.  She wrote: “The past six years, I have felt stuck in Colorado…afraid to make a move because of money, support system, job, etc., etc.  If I move will I be able to find a job at my age?  Can I sell my house? My heart is on the East Coast, warm sunny beaches.  I’ve been researching the coast of South Carolina and Florida, and want so much to just say, “Do it…you can do it.”  After reading your story, I realized that I CAN….thank you for giving me that courage to at least begin my journey home.”

My words may have helped this reader cast her life forward, but she, too, taught me a lesson about service and gratitude.    This is why I share my experience so freely: to give hope to others that in spite of the shits of life – big or small – hope and possibility exist.   Always.

In the footprint of helping others, I also freed myself.  My mood has lifted.  I’m still staring at the laundry and the leaves but there’s always tomorrow.

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