Friday, November 23, 2012

How Grief Deepened my Gratitude

When Mike died I thought I would die. Literally. The pain was so intense. The sorrow so deep. I wasn't going to seek my own death. After all, Mike taking his own life was the reason my pain existed and I didn't want anyone else to have to feel such pain. But, I didn't think I'd have to. I was sure that my heart would not be able to withstand the pain that my body was experiencing. My heart would just give out. If that didn't happen (but I was certain it would), and a truck pulled in front of me, that would be fine, too. I realize this sounds dramatic, but sadly, it is entirely true. No exaggeration.
As the hours turned into days, the days into weeks, and the weeks into months, the intense sorrow has diminished and I am confident I will live through this. And I want to live. I want to live to carry on Mike's spirit and to live out the purpose and plan God has for me. Counselors and friends and family encouraged me from the very beginning of the grief journey to take it one day at a time. This is extremely difficult for me. I was born 3.5 months early. I say it was because I was tired of being in the womb and wanted to get a jump start on life! I am always thinking ahead and am working on something. It's very hard for me to slow down. But, grief forced me to slow down. It has forced me to feel real pain and to experience a roller coaster of emotions. It has forced me to recognize my limitations and admit them to others.

But, through all of this mess, grief has brought to light my blessings.....

When you move through life as fast as I do sometimes, you miss a lot.

In the early days and months, I was just thankful to not burst into tears in my cubicle like I did the day I got the news. I was thankful to make it another day. I was thankful to get out of bed. To be able to eat. To sleep more than 4 hours. My blessings were pretty simple. 

As time has gone on, my gratitude is increasing.....

for my family and for Mike's family and how they take care of me.

for our friends from college and how we have strengthened our bond through grief

for my friends who are completely outside of this situation and how they have stuck by me when I have not been the easiest to be around and they have no idea what to say or do

for the messages from people I haven't heard from in years

for my colleagues who bring me cookies and cupcakes and candy just to make me smile

for grief books and blogs that make me feel normal and ensure me that I am doing the right things to move forward

for the friends who used to just be "Mike's friends" that I can now call my own

for the Sundays my dad and I go to church together

for music

for writing

for the LSAT to help focus my mind and hopefully set me on a new path

for wine

for prayer

for God's faithfulness

for sunny days that remind me of Mike's smile and the fact that amidst deep grief the sun still shines

for Sarris chocolate covered pretzels

And the list could probably go on....

I initially thought there was nothing good about grief. And, believe me, there is a lot about grief that is not good. Not good at all. I didn't ask for this experience and I wish that it never happened. But if it had to, I am grateful to God for highlighting my blessings amidst such sorrow.

So, on Thanksgiving and every day, I will do my best to remember to count my blessings and be thankful no matter my circumstances.

Thank you.

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