As some of you may or may not know, 3 months ago today, on January 4th, I unexpectedly lost my Dad to complications of pneumonia. It has been a roller coaster over the last few months to say the least. A few weeks after his death I shared some thoughts that I was having about grief and gratitude on my Girls Gone Strong page. The response was so overwhelming that I decided to share it on my personal page as well. And again… an overwhelming response. Such an overwhelming response in fact, that I have decided to post it again in hopes that it will continue to touch people’s lives and affect them positively. Who knows… this piece may hit home with you today in a way that it did not when it was originally posted a couple of months ago. Or, you may have been through something in the last few months that really allows this thought to resonate with you now. Or you may have been in so much pain a couple of months ago that you were completely closed to the idea of ever being able to feel gratitude again. No matter what your circumstance, I really hope that something positive comes out of you taking the time to read this post. Whether it helps you or someone you love… please share it if you feel so compelled. It has really helped me get through my darkest days over the last 3 months. Thank you for reading.
Here is what I originally shared on January 25th, 2012:
“Hey ladies! As many of you all know, Girls Gone Strong is not just about physical strength, it’s also about mental strength and strength of character. Something that you may not know, is that I lost my Dad unexpectedly 3 weeks ago today. The last 3 weeks have been the most devastating and hardest weeks of my entire life. Mornings are the hardest for me because I keep waking up thinking that I ‘ve been in a horrible nightmare and that everything is fine… it feels like I learn of his death for the first time all over again every morning. The point of this post is not to make everyone feel sorry for me…but rather I want to share a very powerful realization I have had over the last few weeks.
Over the last few weeks when I find myself really grieving, I make it a point to sit with that grief for a period of time, as I believe letting yourself grieve is vital to experience at least some healing (some say you are never fully healed but that’s a post for another day). Once I have sat with my grief for a period of time, I really begin thinking about, and trying to turn my grief into…gratitude. Yes, gratitude. In my opinion gratitude is one of the most important feelings or emotions one can express. When you are filled with gratitude, it’s nearly impossible to have negative feelings like entitlement, anger or jealousy be present. And honestly, I believe there is gratitude to be had in almost every situation from little everyday occurrences to life changing events. As silly of an example as it is: if someone cuts you off in traffic and ticks you off, you can be thankful that they gave you the opportunity to work on your driving skills (seriously… learning to react quickly while driving may save your life some day) and you can also be thankful for the opportunity to work on your patience and deep breathing. I know it may sound ridiculous, but hopefully it makes sense. Below I am going to share the gratitude I am finding within the tragedy I have recently experienced.
I am grieving because I lost one of the most amazing men this world has ever seen. I am grateful that I was blessed with such an amazing Dad.
I am grieving because the loss was sudden. I am grateful that he did not suffer.
I am grieving because I lost a parent, a friend, a trusted confidante, a sounding board, and a remarkable role model. I am grateful that we were so close and our relationship was so multi-dimensional.
I am grieving because I don’t have my Dad around for another 15-20 years like expected. I am grateful that I remember him young, vibrant, and full of life.
I am grieving because he is no longer with me in the physical sense. I am grateful that I carry his spirit within me now and that I can talk to him anytime day or night.
I am grieving because I only had 27 years with him. I am grateful because I was blessed with 27 amazing years with him.
As you can see, the “grateful piece” of each one of these thoughts/feelings does not discount or negate the “grieving piece”… it just gives me some perspective and allows me to be filled with immense gratitude from time to time during one of the darkest and hardest times in my life.
Please do me a favor and try to focus on being grateful every day and even trying to find the gratitude in negative situations. I truly believe it will have a positive impact on your attitude and therefore your well-being. Also, please take the time to call someone you love and let them know… you will be glad you did.”
I hope you enjoyed this post. I would love to hear any questions, comments, or stories you may want to share below.