• Drew Dotson

No caveat(s) needed


A beagle lies on a bed of green grass in front of a small, light blue house
It's summertime and the Noodling is easy

Today, as I sat on a bench in the backyard, I was overcome with gratitude. I admired a happy Noodle, a beautiful sky, plants in bloom, and this amazing little house that is home to my soul. I wanted to live forever in that moment. Life felt damn near perfect. And though my life has not been perfect in the objective sense, deep down it feels strangely flawless.


Almost 15 years ago, a counselor said something I filed away: “Depression is a full feeling.” At the time, I knew exactly what she meant — it was hectic down in the dumps. It’s common to associate depression with doing nothing, but depression kept me very busy for most of my teens and twenties. My mind was never at peace because it was diligently cycling through a list of things to be anxious about — stuff that needed to change. If I felt even a hint of contentment, it was immediately replaced with worry about everything I thought needed fixing.


Since my husband’s death almost two years ago, those moments of contentment have taken a different shape. For quite some time after his death, when I found myself in the presence of joy, I immediately felt a tinge of sadness. Ramón's absence felt so very full. Here I was, witnessing a beautiful moment in time, and he was not by my side. I struggled to stay in a place of pleasure because something was amiss.


With time, though, that aspect of my grief has changed. I still feel a trace of something, but it’s not sadness. Instead, it’s a tinge of delight as though Ramón's here and helped create this beautiful moment I get to experience.


Rather than the feeling of fullness I’ve grown to know in times of depression and grief, I now welcome the emptily full feeling of contentment. It’s full in that my heart is brimming with gratitude, yet it’s empty in that there’s nothing that needs to be done. It’s that moment when things are eerily silent in the best possible way.


Today I was fully immersed in gratitude — no caveat(s) needed.

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