Grasses in the sunThe hospital staff person came in to empty the trash. “Thank you so much,” Laurence said. “Where are you from?” “Guatemala,” she replied. He asked her about her family, her life, and her journey to the United States.

My husband Laurence was in the hospital at the time diagnosed with leukemia. It was just one more jolt in a long series of medical complications. Wherever he was or whatever he was doing, he always stopped to express his gratitude.

He said thank you to everyone. He thanked his business associates, children, family members, clients, and the clerk at the neighborhood deli. He thanked me for taking care of our home, for doing the laundry and for buying the groceries. He said a prayer of thanks before every meal.

More trauma. A bone marrow transplant, complications with medications, a series of strokes. Laurence was in a coma for a week in Intensive Care. At Day 7, his doctor told us to get his affairs in order.

Prayers intervened and Laurence miraculously awoke out of his coma. As he regained consciousness, he began to whisper. Can you guess his first words? Thank you.

Laurence is no longer here on this earthly plane. But he left those of us who knew him with a reminder of the power of giving thanks. Gratitude acknowledges that we have received the gift that is being given, whether it is a compliment or an act of kindness. Gratitude puts us into a humbled state of appreciation. It connects us with God.

I am quite confident that Laurence is aware of the love and gratitude being sent his way. I am convinced he watches over his children and grandchildren, his mother, siblings and me. I am certain he is sending each of us extraordinary beams of love.

I know he hears my prayers of gratitude in the middle of the night for the amazing life we shared. I hear him whisper his reply. Thank you. I love you too.