Cathy ZielskeCZ Life40 Comments

With the events of the past few days here in my home town, I’ve been focusing on gratitude to not feel quite as sad.

Dan drove on 35W, across the bridge, every day. Every single day, on his way from the Dinkytown cafe to the one on Hennepin Avenue. This fact alone. This thought…

I’m the type of person who, when I call his cell phone on any given day, and he doesn’t answer, have flashes of, "How am I going to live my life without this person?" I am a worrier. I always have been.

This morning, we talked about the what ifs. What if he was gone in a flash? Or I was? So many things, aside from the utter and profound grief, to have to find a way to handle. So many other things. We’ve decided to expound upon our already existing wills… we need to have answers to things that only each of us seem to know and take responsibility for. If that makes sense…

So today, I’m just grateful. Not complaining, or disappointed, or chubby, or whining or wanting… in short, trying to be less like me, and more like a person who knows in her gut that what she is a part of is a very, very good thing.

Cathy ZielskeGrateful

40 Comments on “Grateful”

  1. #1

    I completely understand, as I’m a big “worrieer” myself. I have a good friend that lives there in Minneapolis and I e-mailed him to see if he was okay, and if he knew anyone. Thankfully his friend wasn’t on the bridge, but was waiting to get on when it happend. I’m glad your hubby is okay too. I think it’s good to think about what you’d do “if” cause we all know someday we won’t be around, although not a pleasant thought.

  2. #2

    OK, so I am having a mini panic attack reading your post. Breathe…..

    I agree, focus on being grateful. Grateful but prepared. Oddly enough I was working on my will and health care directive yesterday. Quicken Will Maker software is very easy to use and has about 50 forms that you can create from it. I highly recommend it.

  3. #3
    Melanie in Maple Grove

    The day it happened, I had been complaining about my small house and the short nap my kids took. Seemed pretty foolish after seeing the news. I think it being so close to home made me feel a little more vulnerable, a little more aware that “it COULD have been my family, a friend, me.” I didn’t know anyone involved, but it made me think what would happen if I did. What would I have wanted to tell that person if it was the last time I talked to them.

    I have a friend who is a funeral director. She told me last year about a young mother who passed away tragically. She ended her email to me by saying, “Kiss your kids, tell your husband you love him and thank God for each and every day, even the tough ones.” I don’t always remember to do these things and it’s sad that it takes something like this to make us all aware of the things we SHOULD be thankful for… the ability to come home safely to our small home, and our children who take short naps somedays. I know the sadness will go away, but I hope this feeling of awareness will hang on a little longer.

  4. #6

    say it sister!
    I’m a fellow worrier and what-ifer. It doesn’t get me anywhere. I love your attitude. Need to be more like CZ!

  5. #8
    Jennifer Henson

    Wow… To be grateful…something we should do everyday instead of worry. But it’s hard…at least with my worrier nature. Glad you’re all safe and sound. Our thoughts and prayers are with your city and state, survivors and those who have been lost.

  6. #9
    jill s

    ok. seriously glad to know i’m not the only one who starts thinking like that when hubby doesn’t answer the first time! i hate that my mind goes straight to the worst case scenario!


  7. #10
    Brenda Smith

    Wow, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks worse case scenario when I call an unanswered cell phone.

    I guess I need to also have a heart to heart with my husband and kids about the “what ifs” in life.

    Thanks for posting your message.

  8. #11

    Gratitude is a wonderful thing. I know after the 7/7/05 bombing where my dh missed that train and was on the one behind I’ve worked hard on that. Treasuring the everyday stuff and making sure our wills are up to date and we’ve talked about the important stuff as well as the groceries.

    So glad you and your family are safe, another friend is an ER Dr and has been rather busy… horrible tragedy for everyone involved.

  9. #12

    I sure do love you.

    I have to tell you that I almost held my breathe until I read to make sure you were ok. I’m so glad you posted before I ran out of air…;)


  10. #13
    Natalia Dexter

    I too am a worrier and often think the worst if I can’t get in contact with a loved one. I immediately thought of you and your family when we heard the news hear in Sydney Australia. I am glad you and your loved ones are safe. My thoughts and prayers are with those families who have lost loved ones. Life is so unpredictable we just need to always say I love you to those people in our lives that mean so much to us, hug them and always be grateful that we are blessed. These tragedies always bring perspective back into our lives.

  11. #14
    Traci in Virginia

    So very well said! However, regardless of the complaining we all do regularly over the small stuff…everyday I read your blog and what I take away, not knowing you at all, is a deep sense of love for your family.
    I am so happy you are all safe. Enjoy the weekend with your family around you.

  12. #15
    Sue K.

    I’ve never met you, but the first thing I did when I got to a computer after I heard the news of the bridge collapse was check your blog. I’m glad to hear that your family is safe, give them all big hugs.

  13. #16

    Couldn’t help to feel a bit choke up with your post. You are right, being thankful, is what we can be…and should be. Always. Thanks for the reminder.

  14. #17
    Ngaire Bartlam

    totally hear you babe.
    grateful is a thing we should alll be…

    if we can feed and clothe our kids, if we are safe and warm and sheltered, if we have enough money to pay the bills. we are wealthy .

    if we have all this and we are also loved, then we are truly among the seriously rich.

    so glad you are all ok.

  15. #18

    It’s sad that it takes a wake up call like that to remind us of how wonderful and blessed our lived truly are. I always say to live today like it is your last and be grateful for all the precious things in your life. This week, it never rang more true. xo

  16. #19
    Jennifer Mattix

    I was a widow at 24 with a 5 and 1 year old. I know how hard it is to talk about the what if’s but it’s good that you do it!! My new hubby and I have already had that talk and we are free to live our lifes full and free!

  17. #20
    Alison Shearer

    Yes things like this are a real wake up call about what is important in life.Thank goodness Dan and your whole family weren’t affected. I can’t begin to imagine the grief and anger those affected must be feeling. It’s too awful.


  18. #21

    Thanks for these words. This reminder.

    I’m a worrier, too. And I have to go over our wills, and get the information, and think through all the contingencies, and help my husband pack up to go to Iraq soon. Again. And your words about just being grateful have spoken to my heart today. Thank you.

    The fact that we worry so much…that there would be so much pain in losing this person…is a testimony of how beautiful this thing is that we share. If it weren’t so beautiful, the pain would be less. So it’s not entirely a bad thing.

  19. #22

    I was a widow at 31 with 4 and 11 yo girls. God is good and 12 years later my new dh and I cherish our time and try to live in the “what
    is”. I still hold my breath when a phone goes unanswered.
    Thank you for speaking what needs to be repeated and remembered.

  20. #23

    Hi –
    I’m a worrier and a what if-fer too. Gratitude is where I go as well.
    We did our wills, health care proxy forms, power of attorney, etc. But even with all the legal forms in place, we also wrote letters to each other (and two relatives). It was a way to say what we would want say to one another in a crisis, if only we could. We wanted to help each other or our loved ones make those difficult decisions for us.
    Glad you and your family are all well.
    Thinking of everyone in the Twin Cities…
    – Lee

  21. #25

    coming out of lurkdom to comment on this….

    my husband has been deployed for the last nine months and 29 days…..when we realized that his everyday job could take him from us, it totally made us look at each day differently. He won’t be home until after christmas 2007….so just a bit more x’s on the calendar until we can take a real breath.

    sometimes the ‘civilian’ world gets a glimpse into what I go thru every day. hug your husband when you can…I have over 150 days until I can do that!

    happy saturday

  22. #27

    I too, am a worrier. I worry on a daily basis that my dh’s vehicle will drive over an IED (improvised explosive device) or roadside bomb. I worry when I don’t get a phone call every 2 or 3 days, like I normally do (I’m going on day 5 now). But of course, my worry is unnecessary since I haven’t had soldiers show up at my door, but I still worry nonetheless.
    My sis-in-law just moved to the Twin Cities, and flew in on Wed with my newphew & our Aunt. Thank goodness they weren’t anywhere near that bridge. But I worried anyway.
    I’m glad your DH is safe. We’re thinking of everyone in the Twin Cities here in ID.

  23. #28

    After losing my mother when I was pregnant with my second child in 84, my dad, aunt and uncle in 88 and then my own husband in 92, I know that life offers no promises.

    I realized with two little boys that life was going to go on with or without me so I could choose to not participate or to pick up and go on.

    I strive everyday to do unto others, and realize that what time we have in this life should be spent being kind to others, to offer help to anyone who needs it and to realize that the stranger who needs your help might just be your guardian angel.

    I’m not always on track with all of that but if I can lay my head down at night, and have made someone laugh or smile I’ve had a good day.

  24. #29

    I hope this doesn’t sound terribly corny…but I come to your blog daily because you say such funny and profound things. Today is one of those days…you are an amazing person and I am so grateful to have found your blog and get to peek into your life and your thoughts, which in turn help me to be a better person. For this, I am grateful.

  25. #31

    Sometimes we NEED to remind ourselves how lucky we are and sometimes events do it for us. I am so very lucky. Thanks Cathy.

  26. #32
    Madeline R

    Amen from this worrying choir member! I had two friends lose their children two years ago and it has forever made me more grateful and aware of how important each day is with our loved ones. Do wish I could lose my tendency to worry though.

  27. #33

    I completely agree with what you’re feeling. My DH and I just discussed life insurance, which is a scary thought, but brings some comfort just in case anything should happen.

    Completely OT, but I MUST know what FONT you’re using on your header. I searched VEER, and I just can’t sleep…function…until I have that font. I’ll obsess about this font until I get my hands on it, and then I’ll find some other random thing to obsess about. 🙂


  28. #35

    HI Cathy

    Your post has touched a cord today. I am so grateful that you and your lovely man Dan and those kids you adore so much are all fine. I am going to count my own blessing today, cause blessed I am. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. It makes us feel not so loney knowing that we all share the same fears and concerns.

    Much love

  29. #36

    I had a “wake up call” on a bi-coastal flight with my husband 8 years ago. Our children were wee bits. And safe at home wth my mother at the time.

    What I learned?

    My kids ARE the best legacy I will EVER leave behind. And I almost screwed that up by just “hoping” that if the worst should happen, it would all work out okay.

    Wills were drawn up two days after we got home.

    But more importantly, I learned to:

    Revel and roll around in and soak up every single drop of life that gets squeezed out and poured out over me and mine. The good and the bad.

    Because even the bad, looks like an absolute freaking blessing at 10,000 feet.

  30. #38


    I so relate to the flashes you described when you can’t reach your sweetie on his phone. The worries. This happens to me, too. I understand. It’s good that you can talk about it. Thanks for sharing that with us.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *