My son Mark, died during the month of November; November 24th. And, perhaps, that is the reason something said to me by a good friend keeps flowing through my mind.  This friend, was reminding me that within each and every event, contained therein, is a gift. My friend said: “The Gift may be wrapped up in sandpaper and tied up with a barbwire ribbon. Gift, nonetheless, it is.”  So, Shirl, “look for the gift.”  And, due to this counsel from someone who had faithfully walked with not just me but also with my husband and son…I listened. My friend said this to me during a time when both my husband Silas and son Mark were courageously experiencing; hanging tough, with some extremely painful medical conditions. They both had Congestive Heart Failure. Mark was staring at a double transplant for kidney and liver. Silas, transversed; navigated, herculean daily  task with 98% of his vision gone as well as needing help to stand and walk. These along with several other medical conditions eventually contributed to each of their deaths. When my friend encouraged me to “look for the gift,” my days during that time consisted of being of support to my husband and then being of support to my son. The days were whirlwind “keep them ALIVE!!!!!”…activities. Doctor appointments; dialysis treatments; physical therapy; consultations with specialist; medicine to get; special diet-meals to cook; etc. etc.  Dear Reader, of this Session of Soul-Sharing, I could hear God speaking to me through the words of this faithful friend. And, it was due to this, that I timidly; making no presumptions whatsoever, began “looking for the gift.” There were no “Burning Bush,” episodes, such as when God Spoke to Moses. Instead, I began a practice. A practice of saying “Thank You,” throughout the day. I allowed myself to be “Mindful,” of what I call “The Miracle of the Moment.” For example, I allowed myself to be aware during the day of many, what one would call, mundane occurrences: blinking my eye; lifting a chair; opening a door; sitting upright; bending over; seeing movement; swallowing; etc. Indeed, I allowed myself to be aware of, and say thank you, about something my Mentor once asked me…She asked: “Were you able to take care of your own bathroom needs; by yourself, today? I said, “Yes.” She said: “then, say Thank You!”

On today, as I allow myself to remember my(our) friend’s counsel to…”look for the gift.” I can truly say that I am aware of some of the Gifts obtained from those days of walking with these two-Courageous Men…Husband and Son. Only “some,” because the Gifts are so copious, varied, ongoing, that there is no way for me to have seen and experienced All of Them. They indeed, are the Gifts that keep on giving. I’ll share a few.

  • Watching my husband, Silas, repeatedly KEEP STANDING UP!!!!, to whatever was presented to him. This has allowed me to embrace change. Embrace, that which I in no way want to be a part of my life; such as their deaths.
  • Watching my son, Mark, challenge what was thought and said, he was able to do. Mark, pushed the limits. When doctors said “you can’t do that!” Mark would come home and proceed; progress, to, with MUCH pain, DO JUST THAT!!! Hat’s off to you son. I use your example daily to move from the discomfort of those gnawing physical aches & pains. I too push those limits, my son. Rather than say what I can’t do; I say instead YES I CAN!!! Just like you did.

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