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100 Thank Yous

“If the only prayer we ever say in our lives is ‘Thank You’ that will be enough.” – Meister Eckhart

On August 14, 2018, my husband died.

He was just 40 years old. It was unexpected. It was all the things you can probably imagine – awful, traumatic, heartbreaking, terrifying, stressful, confusing – and more. I had to figure out how to tell my toddler that dada was gone and that he wasn’t coming back. I had to come to grips with the fact that I am also currently pregnant – due in late January 2019 – and that Ryan will not be here to help me raise our new baby. Or to even meet our new baby. I am now a single parent. I don’t have a husband anymore. Just like that.

Life is in session – it’s happening right now, this is it! – and it doesn’t always go according to how we planned it.

After a conversation full of serendipities about rainbows between my wonderful mother-in-law, Barbara, and me one day, rainbows began to symbolize Ryan in our minds and became the unofficial theme of sorts for his memorial service. Barbara gave everyone a crystal to hang in their kitchen windows, something that Ryan used to love as a child. I created 40 small rainbow paintings for the service back in September and I gave the paintings to family and close family friends, as a way to remember him and to connect us all together during this tremendously painful time in our lives.

Something curious began to happen as I created the paintings, though. They started out as a way to commemorate Ryan but soon began to morph also into a way for me to express my gratitude to everyone in my world for the incredible and overwhelming outpouring of support, love, generosity, and compassion that’s been flooding my way since he died.

I found myself feeling so surprised that I could feel so deeply heartbroken, scared, sad, angry, and traumatized while simultaneously feeling a level of deep and intense gratitude that I’d never experienced before in my life and also an incredible knowing that I am going to be ok and that this will not stop me or break me. How could all those feelings and emotions exist within me all at the same time?? How could I be feeling SO grateful when my husband just died??

After I finished and gave away the 40 rainbow paintings, I didn’t feel finished. I wanted to paint more, and for some reason I wanted to paint 100 of them. That seemed like an intimidating number, and one that I should maybe rein in a little bit, but then I decided to see what the date would be 100 days after Ryan’s death. I counted twice to make sure and was shocked to discover that 100 days after is Thanksgiving Day. Ryan’s favorite holiday. Serendipity.

So 100 rainbow paintings it is.

Every day is an opportunity to create something beautiful. No matter the circumstances we are walking through. Every day is an opportunity to say thank you for the beauty that surrounds us in each moment.

I offer these 100 paintings as a visual THANK YOU.

May these bright little symbols of gratitude and hope make their way out into the world to knit us together in colorful, compassionate, loving, truthful, and beauty-filled connection.

Thank you for being a part of my rainbow.

I am profoundly grateful.



“If the only prayer we ever say in our lives is ‘Thank You’ that will be enough.” – Meister Eckhart