Last Saturday I spoke at the Congregational Church of Manhasset’s Center for Wellbeing and presented my workshop, “Gratitude is the New Calm.”
The program was very interactive, there was wonderful group participation, and everyone left feeling good–especially me!
During Q&A at the end of the workshop, a beautiful woman in the back of the room asked me to explain how gratitude can help us during times of deep grief.
I love this question because I have experienced firsthand how gratitude helps us heal from loss.
Gratitude is an amazing tool that allows us to find greater joy in everyday things, yet also helps us build resilience so we can handle life’s challenges with strength, grace and ease.
But being grateful does not mean we don’t feel pain, or that we shouldn’t feel sadness.
In fact, gratitude helps us appreciate these feelings, as one workshop participant pointed out.
When we lose someone we love, being able to FEEL our feelings, as painful as they may be, reveals just how much we have loved, and how much we feel loved by others. Tweet this!
By appreciating these feelings, instead of pushing them away, we are better able to move through our grief so it doesn’t get stuck in our bodies, wreaking havoc on our health, or take over our lives.
When my Mom passed away suddenly at the age of 67, I was devastated. But once I was able to move through the shock, with the help of my husband, siblings, family, and friends, I was able to feel blessed to have had my Mom for as long as I did.
At her wake, many, many people came up to me and shared their stories of things my Mom had done for them. People she worked with, people in the community, and distant family members all had their version of how my Mom had been an inspiration and support to them in their personal lives.
I was grateful for these stories because they helped me appreciate my Mom in ways I had never known. While she was a very nurturing and caring mother to me and my siblings, I had no idea how much mothering she was doing for the rest of the world, and it made me happy.
My gratitude practice enhanced my appreciation of these stories, and helped me feel lucky to be her daughter, instead of focusing on self-pity for having lost her too soon.
So whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one, a pet, a relationship, a job, a home or any other loss that is causing you pain, remember to feel your feelings, and give yourself permission to grieve.
Trust that one day, eventually, you will find something to be grateful for. Vitamin G can certainly help.
If this resonates with you, please share your questions and comments below and let’s help each other through grief and loss. Your input matters.