Gifts of Grief

It's been two years exactly since my mom passed away.

The reason I'm sharing this with you today is because it's possible that in the past two years you, too, have suffered some sort of loss --

...and possibly (hopefully) you have benefited from the gifts of grief.

Gifts of Grief?

A strange title, I realize it may be.

But there are gifts to be found, if we look for them.

When my mom died (peacefully, yet unexpectedly) my world crumbled in a way that was shocking to me.

Having previously lost my Dad (who was married to my mom for 50 years), and a sister (before she reached the age of 20) and my only brother (at 33, he should have been riding his golden wave)...

I was something of an expert at love & loss.

I knew that in time, precious treasured memories would lift me, would rescue me, like a lifeboat for the soul.

I knew that my life would go on -- different, changed, but go on it would.

I also knew that my heart would expand to accommodate the new pain and sadness, yet joy and hope would also blossom over time, and actually exist at the same time, in the same place.

But for some reason, the loss of my mom felt like the final blow to an already fragile heart that finally shattered under the compilation of so much loss.

Probably because in my other losses, mom was there to comfort me...

But not this time.

I don't share this in hopes of getting pity or comfort (though words of kindness from so many have been a healing balm in my darkest days)

...but I share in hopes of helping you, if grief has darkened your door.

Maybe you've lost a job, a way of living -- even a place to live.

Maybe you had to say goodbye to a precious pet or a treasured friend...

Maybe just the passing of time has reminded you that indeed, time is passing, and we don't live forever.

My mom told me, on her very last day, to focus on the positive, to look for the beauty.

I've really taken that to heart.

In fact, I started to count my blessings, instead of my losses.

And -- to grow from grief, instead of being buried under it.

My Gifts of Grief include:

 - the ability to comfort others, knowing the pain and sorrow of loss

 - the desire to let go of physical "stuff", focus on relationships and experiences instead

 - the pure joy of the simplest things, like a hot cup of coffee, fresh sheets on the bed, breathing in the aroma of night-blooming flowers...

 - no more procrastination, but renewed focus to get things done

 - my strengthened faith (many "Heavenly Hugs" have come at just the right time)

 - the ability to focus on what's important to me, without approval or permission from others

When I asked a dear friend who was no stranger to loss (not only are her mom and dad gone, but her brother and her husband) how she found the courage to face each day, she said:

1. Help someone else who is hurting
2. Have someone to love and be loved by (human or animal)
3. Have something to look forward to

This year, I'm looking forward to a Hawaiian vacation, then leading my yoga teacher training, and then relaxing and healing at my Oct. Women's Wellness Retreat in Desert Hot Springs.

Have you experienced the Gifts of Grief? I'd love to know.

Until then, please know my hope and prayer is that you'll find brighter days ahead, no matter where you are on this glorious adventure called Life.