This week has been a challenge for me. Grief has revealed itself within the perfectly positioned bookends of my wedding anniversary last Sunday and Father’s Day this Sunday.
With this one-two punch it’s hard to avoid the emotional triggers of these two significant days. The pain of not only my father’s absence but Claude’s too on Father’s Day runs deep. My son Noah is doing phenomenally well considering he lost his dad to suicide five years ago. But for me this loss is unfathomable and heartbreaking. I think I will always feel that void for my son and for the loss of our family unit that meant so much to us.
Since I have been at this for five years now, I have developed a rhythm and a flow in how I move through my grief. I have learned to allow myself the time I need to really feel and process my feelings then gradually begin to shift my thoughts and perspectives. By doing this I have given myself the authority to choose how I will proceed from that moment forward. Please note: This is something that takes practice. Over time it becomes easier and more accessible. In the beginning when we are in shock, overwhelmed with grief and a multitude of emotions it may not be realistic to be able to do this. But I want you to know that it is possible and can be supportive to your healing process when you are ready.
On my walk yesterday morning I was feeling pretty sad and I made the decision that the sadness really wasn’t serving me in that moment. I felt I needed to adjust my perspective. So I remembered to dip into my tool box that I have come to rely on. These tools have served to reshape my awareness and emotions, lifting myself up and out of the emotional web I can sometimes find myself entangled in.
One of my favorites is gratitude. Gratitude is one of the most effective tools. When we go in to a place of gratitude we can’t help but shift our frame of mind. We are able to see things from a refreshed and inspired perspective enabling us to move our thoughts in a new direction. One small step at a time. We are no longer stuck in the seemingly endless loop of despair. For me this has become an integral part of my life. Without gratitude I would be lost in my grief with no hope of seeing the light. It does not take away the pain but it can relieve the suffering that walks hand in hand with grief.
Wielding gratitude in the context of Father’s Day this year, I am choosing to be grateful that my son Noah has been gifted with 14 truly amazing years with his dad before he died. I celebrate Claude and the fact that he was a devoted and loving father in very sense of the word. He was fully present in every aspect of Noah’s childhood. Noah received a solid foundation and developed an unmistakable sense of himself through Claude’s presence. So much so that after Claude died Noah declared that he would from that moment forward take on the role of parenting himself. He would take on the role that his father had vacated. Of course I have remained by his side. I have not vacated my role as his mom. But that pivotal decision on that day was Noah’s way of taking control of the situation. He has been moving forward ever since with this premise that has fueled and motivated his life in ways that are truly remarkable. If Claude had not done his job well as a father while he was with us Noah may not have had the strong-minded determination to move ahead with such clarity and self-awareness. For this I am exceedingly grateful!
So today, I celebrate Claude, Noah and my dad who have all gone above and beyond what was expected of them in their own unique way. I am grateful that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of their lives and a part of their love.
How can YOU wield the power of gratitude in your life, in this moment, on this day, this week ahead?
With love and gratitude,
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