The month of November is upon us and while it may be filled with dread for many of us on the grief journey, it is possible to find the gratitude amongst the days. That's what November is right? Feeling full of gratitude and thanks; grateful for your family & friends, your health & your home, your love & your grace; but what if grief snuck in and stole your gratitude? What if you've just been diagnosed with an incurable disease? What if the days are becoming shorter with a battle for a family member or friend? How do we navigate gratitude during the chaos much of the world is in? How do we find our gratitude in the hardest seasons of life?
For me, gratitude isn't a feeling of being grateful all the time. I don't feel like I'm replacing any grief with gratitude. The meaning of gratitude per google is this: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. I think of gratitude as being an outlook on life, a person, or something; being full of gratitude sure doesn't discount grief.
I try to find gratitude where I can; I find it in the sunsets, in my daily walks, when I hear my daughters voice on the phone, in my puppy when she meets me with enthusiasm, all the happy memories of my people who have died, a delicious cup of hot coffee, the warmth of my fire, and all of God's beauty that surrounds us that we don't open our eyes to see. One of the best ways to deal with grief is to build our gratitude in areas where we can find it, this helps us face our pain in a better way.
I had read somewhere that "grief is grief" and there is no room for gratitude. We definitely need to grieve and give that grief room; but what if we give some space for gratitude? Thinking of it this way; if your loved one is gone, how would they want you to live? Full of grief or full of gratitude? I'm guessing they would say grieve, but don't miss the chance to live your best life by celebrating them and all they have given us. By finding gratitude where you can, you are realizing that there is other opportunities for attention in the world like I've stated above. If we just stick with grief, we are missing out on everything because it all seems dark. In the instance of a friend or family member who may have a terminal disease, you want to grieve for the life you will be missing. I am certain that this person wants you to share what they have meant to you and share with them. This is giving gratitude and by sharing this process, it may just be very healing for you as the griever and fill your bucket with more gratitude and help your "person" feel all the love & gratitude you have for them during their final days.
Please DO NOT misunderstand me when I say any of this, we definitely need to grieve and it's a process that we need to go through. But as you go through the grief process, each day or each week, maybe just maybe you can find gratitude in the little things and that will start opening up your heart & mind to more. In my life I feel that by honoring those that have died and living out their legacies, it is giving me an abundance of gratitude as well.
So as you go through this season of gratitude, I pray that you find space for your grief, but also find the gratitude that is knocking at your door with all the little things. These two can definitely co-exist; Grief & Gratitude...why choose? Also, what about leaning into those that love you unconditionally that are still present in your lives, share stories of love & gratitude with them all, spend the time together because aren't we truly BETTER TOGETHER?