When the Odyssey first came to Gloucester and we were making frequent trips to Gloucester Marine Railways on Rocky Neck, we would walk to The Last Stop for lunch, and along the way we would pass a gallery called Imagine. In an art colony famous for marine paintings, Imagine was an oasis of color, and at the center of it all was our new friend, Brenda Malloy. You can see her mark all over Gloucester–candy-colored hearts on cars, mailboxes, refrigerators. Brenda is the personification of joy. That is why her story is so important:
I am more than the grief, the sadness, the physically painful side of profound loss that feels like thick, sludgy, mud encasing the whole body and causing my head to ache.
When I am in the depths of my own private hell caused by the loss of my husband, my friend, my partner, I get the image of being in the water, feeling like I am drowning. I imagine reaching my hand up towards the heavens, reaching up for something, someone, anything to save me from these feelings of despair.
The one single thing that works every time, always, no matter what, is gratitude. Gratitude is the hand that reaches down to mine and lifts me out of my despair. Gratitude is the one thing I can conjure up when the pain is too much, when it all seems too overwhelming, when the physical pain in my head becomes unbearable.
Gratitude, that is my religion, that is my savior, that is the one thing that I can count on any day, anytime, anywhere in the world. There are always things to be grateful for, and that is what allows me to shift from a place of pain to a place of less pain, and eventually to a place of peace, by allowing the gratitude in.
Grateful I can breathe and see and hear and eat and have clean water and that I am capable of love and that I am surrounded by love and that I embrace love. Gratitude.
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