Another Blog On Gratitude

typewriterI sometimes have clients and people I meet tell me that they inherited certain traits from their parents.

Seldom do they impart this information with a smile on their lips and a sense of gratitude in their voice. The reason being the characteristic in question is always one that they see as being a hindrance rather than benefit.

I hear things like “I get my negative outlook from my mum” or “I get my quick temper from my dad”

Then I get people telling me that it’s because of their parents their life isn’t firing on all cylinders because they followed their wishes in choosing a career, a partner or friends that weren’t suitable for them.

No doubt they will be delighted when they hear their kids saying the same thing in a few years time.

I don’t think I’ve ever complimented somebody and they have shot back with something along the lines of “Well yeh thanks for the compliment, but you really should tell my mum, she was the one that instilled a sense of honesty in me” or “You’re right I am funny, but I can’t take the credit, that comes from my dad”

I’m not blaming anybody for this, I’m not saying that it’s unusual or that I haven’t done the same on occasions, but I am saying it’s a huge shame for two reasons.

Firstly, we are abdicating personal responsibility for our lives and that never augurs well for our future happiness.

Secondly, we are doing a huge disservice to the two people that brought us into this world.

I understand that for the tiny minority of people that were abused by parents that is difficult to embrace and I wouldn’t for one-minute try and persuade them otherwise. Although having said that, the act of forgiveness and letting go can be incredibly powerful and liberating, so it may be worth trying out.

My mum has been really sick for over 6 months now. I have been back to the UK to see her 3 times in as many months and each time when I left I thought I’d not see her again.

Yesterday she was finally relieved of her suffering and slipped away. It was tough being 4,500 miles away because I wanted to be with my family.

When my day died 6 years ago, we all sat round the following day drinking his wine and telling funny stories that involved him and laughed our asses off.

He would have liked that and it was a lot better than feeling miserable. I’ve missed being able to do that although I did get the chance to talk to my sisters and other family members and have a joke.

I’m going to tell you something now that may look cold in print and if you don’t know me, but that’s a risk I’m prepared to take. I phoned my sister this morning to tell her I’d got a flight and chat about funeral arrangements.

She has a restaurant and is a great cook so we plan on inviting friends and family back to her house after the service and she is going to arrange the food. The irony is that she lives in a house that my mum and dad lived in 30 years ago.

It changed hands in between but it was always my mum’s favorite house, so that is quite fitting.

The house is only about 200 yards from the Church and we were discussing how many cars we needed.

I suggested that one was enough for immediate family and everybody else could walk up. “In fact” I said, “Why don’t we save some money, dispense with the cars altogether and just carry her up?” Ju started laughing and said “But what about taking her to the crematorium after?” and I replied, “I dunno, maybe we could mail her in?” We both started laughing and Ju had to explain to other people there what we were laughing at.

I got my sense of humor from my mum and I KNOW she would have appreciated that. I also got my love of socializing and my intelligence, although the latter may have some people raising their eyebrows.

My dad passed away 6 years ago and left me with an ability to talk to anybody, tenacity and a belief in my own abilities. I like the attributes both of my parents left me and I’m grateful for them which is why they are the only ones I’m going to think about.

The last time I saw my mum, when I left her she had a rare moment of clarity. I gave her a hug and she said “Take care of yourself, you’re very special, you know?” She was right, I am very special, and so are you, and so was she.