By Debra Reagan —

There came a point in my grief over the death of my son Clint when I became so tired of being tired. I began to search for something that would offer a bit of relief. I purchased a small notebook and began keeping a daily gratitude journal. Every day, I tried to find something to write in my journal.

Most days, at first, I was just grateful that I had made it through another day. As time went on, I began to find small things of which I was truly grateful. I began to see that I had received many blessings. These were blessings that I would happily give back if I could turn back the clock, but they were blessings nonetheless.

It seemed that as my journal grew, so did my strength. I began to look forward to logging my gratitude in my journal. I suppose my focus was changing and my pain over the loss was being replaced with my appreciation of those around me. This felt right for me.

At one point, I expanded my journal by adding a section where I could record events that had brought me brief moments of happiness. I wanted to determine if there was a pattern to these moments. I longed so much to be happy again. My dear Clint wanted everyone to be happy.

It has been awhile since I began my journal and I continue to take one day at a time as I search to find what is right for me. I accept that my new normal will always have a level of the pain because of our great loss; I want to find ways to carry this loss. I want Clint’s life to also have a legacy of love, joy and happiness. The tears still come, but sometimes now smiles come too. Those smiles represent the love and precious memories.

My husband once asked me if I would do it all again. I knew what he meant. He was asking me if I would marry him again and have our two beautiful sons if I knew this would be the outcome. In the depth of the pain, I must admit I paused and wondered what person would ever choose to go through this anguish? But then the answer came: If avoiding the pain meant avoiding the love, then I would choose the love with all the strings attached. I am grateful for this love.

I am grateful for the past and the time we shared as a family. I am grateful for many things in the present:? my family and friends, the special connection I still have with Clint. I am grateful for my faith and the future, because I believe I will see Clint again.

Reach Debra Reagan through her website, www.clint-reagan.memory-of.com

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Debra Reagan

Debra Reagan lives in East Tennessee with her husband of 33 years. They have one surviving son. Debra is the co-founder of Listening Hearts, http://listening-hearts.memory-of.com/About.aspx a non-profit corporation designed to help bereaved mothers. After some turbulent and confusing experiences, her youngest son, Clint, received the dual diagnosis of bipolar disorder and a drug addiction. Their lives changed forever when Clint died on August 6, 2005, at the age of 20 of an accidental overdose and bronchial pneumonia. Debra can be reached through the website she maintains for her son at www.clint-reagan.memory-of.com. Debra was a guest on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” talking about “Getting Through Mother’s Day.” To hear Debra being interviewed on this show by Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, click on the following link: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley051007.mp3

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