Grief and Gratitude

“The greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.”
~Thornton Wilder
The month of November and Thanksgiving mark the arrival of the holiday season for Americans. It also marks the onset of the hard-core push to do more, more, more time of year. And, for many, many people, feeling thankful is simply out of reach.

pixabay-public-domain-11-3-2016copy-of-rainy-83136_1280The emotional landscape of twinkling lights, soulful music, visions of sugarplums and clinking glasses in a roomful of beautiful, smiling people is in dark contrast to the reality of the experience of the masses of people who are swimming in the murky waters of grief.Grief can come from many sources – most commonly the loss of a loved one. But, job loss, end of relationships, family dysfunction, a health crisis, experiencing a tragic event – are also examples of additional forms of loss that can trigger the grieving process as well. It is a universal emotion that everyone experiences. And we don’t get to pick a convenient time to be thrust into it. Nor can we predict how we’ll respond. It’s as individual as every other human emotion we experience.

The truth is that we will all be the cause of someone else’s grief someday. And we are guaranteed that life losses will someday awaken the emotion of grief inside of us as well. There’s no getting around it. There’s only going through it.

It can be so hard to watch someone we love go through the grieving process. Often, we are frustrated by our inability to soothe their pain. We don’t know what to do. Sometimes we pretend it isn’t happening and carry on as though nothing has changed, when in fact, for the person suffering, everything has changed…permanently.

Bottom line, the holiday’s may be the time of year when grieving people experience the most loneliness and sadness. It’s a time of year when memories abound and new ones are created. Now, more than ever, grieving people need to feel the love and acceptance of others…even if that means they choose to sit this year out.

Perhaps this year, for those grieving and their loved ones, thankfulness is about expanding our ability to express compassion and love more deeply, strengthening our connection, providing support and ultimately meaning as everyone involved moves forward in life.

Here is a link that may help those experiencing grief:

And stay tuned for next week’s post where we’ll provide resources and tips to help navigate through the upcoming holiday season and into the new year.


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