daily gratitude – grief

**I was going through my drafts and found this. I would have written this about 2yrs after my mom passed. It’s been 4yrs now but I can say, the sentiments remain the same. **

I was nominated on facebook to share 3 things I’m grateful for, over 5 days. I accepted the challenge and realized I enjoyed it so much that I decided to continue. Because I know there are so many who have also walked the path of grief I wanted to share today’s daily gratitude:

Grief is messy business. Mostly because there is no one right way to get to other side of it. It’s a strict teacher that does not waiver. You can hide, duck and even run…but this is a seasoned teacher who knows all the tricks. So while I resisted with tantrums and mental shutdowns – doing my best to avoid the lessons and realities of what is, she stood strong.

Thank you Grief for waiting for me. Thank you tears for being the rain that watered the seeds of hope. Thank you silence that let me hear the whispers within. Thank you spirit for guiding me when there was no path. Thank you loneliness for making me look up – and feeling His love in the embrace of those that love me here.
Today I am thankful that I was given the chance to walk some of my most dark days and felt some of the most heart-wrenching heart ache that I wasn’t expecting and didn’t know how to handle. I’m thankful for a loving God who was willing to risk losing me to the darkness of anger and sadness for the chance to hold me fully, and have the ability to enter a new softened heart, ready to do the hard work of being a light of love in this world.

I’m thankful (now) that grief knocked me on my a$$ over and over the last two years. I’m thankful for the grace of Life that picked me up each time. I learned to be stronger, smarter and hopefully better.
Grief is messy business for sure and while I don’t tend to like mess – for me it was where I found the deepest of treasures. Myself.

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New tears

“It’s strange that we would have a 16yr old daughter this year…”
“yeah.”

Tears well up and I already know his are the same.
“We should deal with her plot…not sure what you need to do to….”
“yeah…I have no idea what’s involved…”

Quiet fills the space. Who knew soft tears could be so loud, no words are needed.

At 23 and 26yrs old, which today literally seems like someone else’s life it feels so long ago, we had no idea where life would lead us. We had little to no advice offered in terms of making huge decisions about burial choices and the future. How could we have known that less than 2yrs later we would move to the other side of the country never to return.

I haven’t cried about Emma in a sad way for almost 6yrs. The first 10yrs were a normal roller-coaster of grief turned sadness that ended with a full out emotional meltdown that lasted close to a year. Desperately trying to avoid embracing the very human struggles of accepting the illogical events that happen in life – I had to literally fall to my knees and say out loud:

“why me, why her, why us….why?”

In fetal position sobbing, a concerned husband tending my rawness as best he could with the only answer there was:

“I don’t know….”

I cried all my whys and then, I let go.

I had always seen Emma and her life as something to celebrate and be thankful for as any of our other children. I found it amazing and fascinating that a person could live out their purpose in 15 short days. After I finished my crying of that time and particular day of asking my “whys” and letting go of them, I stop crying. My feelings of celebration, gratitude and peace only grew stronger and deeper as the days, months and years have passed. I haven’t tried to not cry, there have just not been any tears to cry.

The moment in the car a few days ago is really a culmination of thankfulness, actualizing resilience and sadness from a mother’s heart who wonders what that 16yr old might have looked like, been like or could have been, and more than anything the tears that sat at the edge of my eye lids were tears for a young girl, so much stronger than she would ever understand and feeling proud that both her and I were, still trying, still here.

In the last few years I have learned a few things about tears.

Tears are a signal that we are growing, changing and expanding. In all their forms, they water the very places that are making us more courageous, stronger, sweeter, more compassionate, more whole, resolved and the most important, more loving. They are an opportunity to stay open, clean and offer reflection. In this way, they are essentially watering our inner gardens as we tend them with the activity and learning of life.

As gentle gardeners, we pull the thoughts that longer serve us, add inspiration to encourage juicy growth and learning, and place ourselves in the area that offers the most Light. The Brightness that divinely nourishes the shoots of possibility and effort. It penetrates the dark soils where new seeds are planted, waiting patiently for the perfect mix of tears and Light to break new ground.

In the past these new tears would have seemed annoying to me. A sign of weakness and the inability to “move on”. I would have worried ‘here we go again…’ and would have started looking for the storm of emotion on the horizon. But that day in the car, I embraced them and almost felt happy to feel them again. Instead of annoyance, I almost felt excitement in wondering what am I going to learn from this new growing season.

These new tears, regardless of how many, are here to help my gardens grow and as an avid life gardener, I welcome them to water both the hidden seeds I have yet to know and the growing sprouts of life – this my friends, is reason to buy rain boots.

Faithfully,
S. xo