We spend a lot of time in the industry talking about how to find happiness and peace and calm through our knitting. Even here in my newsletters I talk about happiness through mindfulness and gratitude. In his book Awakening Joy, Frank Baraz talks about how a deep and sincere gratitude, practiced each and every day, helps us to find joy in our live regardless of what is happening around us. When our car breaks down and we're late for an important meeting, and we have to call a friend to come get us, gratitude is not the emotion most of us feel. It's hard to look at that situation and be grateful, but that is exactly what Baraz suggests we do: he urges us to think, "I am grateful that I have a car to break down, a job in which I am valued, friends to call, and money for a tow truck." It's a revolutionary way to live, but the recent death of a friend has shown me how important it is to try.
Last week, my friend Sally, a wonderful woman, lost her battle with cancer. Much loved and admired, her death shook our community to the core. She leaves behind three beautiful daughters and a wide circle of colleagues and friends.
At her funeral reception, we reminisced and shared stories. Sally was larger than life--smart, funny, organized, competitive, successful, and more. She was one of those rare people who lived life to the fullest, never missing an opportunity to have fun, learn something new, and be sincerely grateful every day. Sally was especially about gratitude, and her thank-you notes were legendary. She wrote a sincere message to every single person who hosted her, brought a gift, or showed her a special kindness. We all used to joke about it, marveling at where she found the time to write so many notes while she worked full time and did so much in the community. In those last months, as her friends prepared meals for Sally and her family, her one concern was that she could not write us each a "proper thank you note." She did manage to send sweet and funny texts that made us all laugh. Sally's notes let us each know how very much she appreciated our efforts, and they represented Sally's unfailing attitude of gratitude that carried her through her darkest times.
Last month I texted Sally to congratulate her on her daughter, Katie's, acceptance into Studio Company at Ballet Caliente. She texted back and explained that had she not been hospitalized in early July Katie would have gone to summer camp in Texas, but instead stayed here and took extra dance classes and was able to show that she was up to the rigors of the Studio Company. Sally added, "Think we kind of got lucky with how all the circumstances worked out." OMG. I texted back that she was "my silver-lining Sally." She was absolutely a woman who knew how to live a grateful life.
I am still unable to find reason or meaning in Sally's untimely death, but from her life I will take the lesson of how important it is to be grateful, and I will try never to take a single moment for granted.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here. ~Ellen