Grief and Giving Thanks

NOVEMBER 27, 2013  /  KATE KELTY  / 

Grief and Giving Thanks

There was a time when giving thanks was the unnatural and difficult response to my season of life. Death stole much more than my daughter. Like a thief, grief captured the joy and peace from even the unbroken parts of my life. The things I once received such happiness from all seemed meaningless. Even with so much to be grateful for, all I could see before me was the nothingness of Anna.

Many years have passed since then, but the grief remains. It hits me in some of the most unexpected ways. And in that regard I am still a hostage to the viciousness of grief. But I have learned that intentional thanksgiving forces light into the darkness. It allows me to take control and grief is forced into the backseat as I meditate on the goodness in front of and all around me. Perhaps the most difficult and yet most powerful form of thanksgiving is when life is painful. Seeking to find beauty and meaning that comes in and through grief is a precious commodity. It can transform gloom to glory and ignite joy and gratitude in the deepest and darkest of places. I have come to know these beautiful and transformative wonders as gifts of grief.

I can look back at the days after losing my daughter, and now I can see blessings at every turn. Moments laced with goodness, love and compassion in the midst of all that was cruel and wrong. I can see gifts of grief extended in the many meals from others and the cards and letters that came daily for months. I can see gifts of grief in the moments when heavenly peace captured my pain and whispered to me that I would survive. I can see gifts of grief in beautiful relationships that formed and deepened.

I'll never forget a particular moment right before I was getting ready to deliver Anna, nine months big and yet lifeless. I suddenly remembered in the middle of the night a video that was made- a sonogram revealing her sweet frame, her rapid little heart beat rhythmically pronouncing life and my finger tracing the screen, marking love. This priceless gift of grief was like finding gold in a graveyard. In remembering and clutching the gift, both then and now, I find it easier to breathe through the suffocating weight of missing her.

Can we consciously awaken ourselves to the beauty that emerges from ashes, and thus usher light into the darkest spaces of our lives? I believe so. It doesn't take away the pain. It doesn't erase the grief or rewrite our circumstances. But it can create an opening wide enough for our minds and hearts to be infiltrated by a new perspective, new joy and hope. Today when I grieve I look for the gifts. When hard things come up, I seek to see what kinds of goodness and grace will find their way into the enormity of my pain and disappointment.

Friends who presently suffer, friends who have chapters of grief behind or before you- what treasures can you find in the rubble of your losses? What beauty can you spy emerging from the ashes of your pain your gifts of grief?

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Adina & Maureen
Adina & Maureen

Welcome! We're thrilled you stopped by. Our own joys and sorrows have taught us that a well-timed meal delivered by a friend is one of the best gifts imaginable. In this space, we share our favorite recipes to take to friends, meal-taking tips, and other ways to care for those who are dear to you.

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