I have been working on my memoir over the past few months, writing about my experiences since my husband Claude died by suicide over five years ago. On the surface as I have faced this unimaginable loss it might appear that feeling any sense of gratitude would be elusive or unattainable. However, as I review all that I have been through I can say with certainty that gratitude is alive and well living alongside my grief.
I started to recognize as time passed that grief had a purpose beyond just making me feel trapped in an unimaginable web of despair and isolation. With this insight I knew that I needed to shift my perspective. Yes, it’s true that grief has taken me to unbearable places emotionally but its purpose is not to break me. The purpose of my grief has been to take me on a spiritual journey of growth and re-birth. Grief has led me deeper down the rabbit hole on a mission that would inevitably crack me wide open revealing the light within and ultimately the truth of my own divinity. The more I have been able to lean into my experience of grief the more I have viewed this as a pilgrimage imbued with wisdom and untold gifts.
In order for me to learn from this experience I have continually needed to say YES to discovering the secrets and the brilliance that it holds for me. I knew I needed to surrender to this transformative process. It was and continues to be much like following the breadcrumbs leading me as I take each step along this path. I am watchful of signs and symbols that present themselves as I go about my day, always aware that there are many avenues in which we can receive our spiritual guidance and direction.
I believe we are, at our essence, radiant divine beings, living a human experience of our own design. While we are here on planet earth we have agreed to undergo an abundance of circumstances. Some might call it our “soul’s curriculum”. This curriculum that we as individuals signed up for holds the template for how our lives will unfold and the life experiences we draw to us. With this knowledge my understanding of this life and my purpose here has slowly matured over the years.
With practice and intention, I have been incorporating the belief that we are much more than our personality or ego selves, that we are always in alignment with all that occurs in our life, even when it does not look or feel that way. We are continually being presented with opportunities for growth. In the end, everything and everyone serves a higher purpose in this play we call life. I am grateful for these higher perspectives that have carried me through my darkest hours, illuminating this most heart-wrenching odyssey.
Through my grieving and healing process I have gained wisdom and knowledge beyond what I would have comprehended if Claude had not died. I am grateful for my ever deepening relationships with Trust, Love, Acceptance, Surrender, Understanding, Self-Love, Gratitude, Intuition, Truth, Forgiveness, Freedom, Transformation, Oneness, Courage, Purpose, Strength, Wisdom, Presence, Compassion, Creativity, Divine Order, Flow and Joy. Simply put I am living my life with greater intention and my relationship to my SELF and others is imbued with a higher level of awareness and consciousness than it was in the past. I addition, there are countless other experiences and of course people that I am grateful for. I would not be here without them living this life filled with a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
As we approach Thanksgiving I know it can be extremely challenging to feel gratitude if you are missing and feeling the stinging absence of your loved one. Believe me I get it! But maybe you can think of some fundamental things that you are grateful for even if you are caught in the clutches of grief. Maybe you can think of only one thing. If you feel called to, you could make a list of 5-10 things that you can refer back to when your heart is hurting? Or if you have a journal you could spend a few minutes writing about all the things that come to mind that you feel grateful for. It can be an eye opener when we actually sit down and do this. We become aware of how many things that we might be taking for granted. Your list or journal entry can be used as a touchstone helping to gain perspective in those desperate moments filled with despair.
I don’t mean to suggest that gratitude overshadows or can take away the pain but it does serve an important purpose by helping to create a bridge between the two. Another way to view this is that it can help to take the edge off of the pain and suffering. When we can re-frame our attention to those things we are grateful for our focus is in the present moment where healing can occur. I have found this to be remarkably helpful I hope you will too.
I understand that some of you may not be ready to feel any gratitude whatsoever. Your loss may be too raw right now and that’s OK. Honor where you are in this moment. I remember all too well early on that just the simple act of breathing was an enormous effort and that alone can be an accomplishment and something to be grateful for. But if you are ready to give this a try I would love to hear from you. Let me know how it went. What or who in your life are feeling grateful for. Do you have some special ways that you like to express your gratitude?
With my deepest gratitude. Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving!
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