One may ask how can grieving be a gift? The death of a loved one, often and over time offers all of us, if we are open, gifts. We may tell ourselves, I did not want any gifts; I just wanted my love one to live, to be disease free. I often offer the thought to families in grief, become comfortable being uncomfortable, with your sadness and broken heart. Our grief journey will be just that, a journey of profound grief.
We will ask ourselves, why do I cry when I see their picture, visit the grave site, sit in their chair, put on a piece of their clothing, the list is endless. We emote our feelings because: everything we knew to be normal has changed, and our long history with our loved one has ended. All and everything sparks memories and our heart re-ignites with unbearable sadness.
However, in quiet moments be open to gifts, for some it will be the first time you had to figure out “how to buy new tires”, learning the computer, how to make a meal for one person, the self satisfaction one experiences when the ordeal is over, that “yes” I can do this! A gift, your first gift of a new level of trusting one self. The gift of stepping out of your comfort zone. The gift of acceptance, the gift of sensing your loved one, the lingering scent of your loved one, the unexpected humming bird flitting by!
Turning all the unknown challenges that are presented to us after the death of a loved one, really can be turned around and embraced as a gift, again not the gift you wanted, but at the end of the day you take it on and go forward.
There are many cliches shared with those in grief, none of which really bring comfort, such as you will move on, you will get over them, they are in a better place, know that we don’t get over our loved one, we begin to journey in grief, and slowly accepting our loved one is not coming back and we learn somehow at some point to live with the numbness in our heart. As we begin to move through the sadness….and embrace the gift of life…We discover the precious gift of a new normal!
Debby Lara-Toney, BSW