Grief & Gratitude
Feeling deep grief, depression or sorrow this time of year, or any time of year for that matter doesn’t mean I’m not thankful. That seems to be a common misconception. “Don’t be sad, just be thankful for the many years you had.” A common poorly phrased effort to comfort a grieving loved one. As if the fact that I am deeply sorrowful and broken somehow indicates that I wasn’t thankful for the years I did get to spend with my sweetheart. So many people just truly don’t get it, despite how hard they try to fix things. The truth is grief and gratitude are friends. They go hand in hand really. I am sad because I lost something I was so grateful for and now that I don’t have it, I am even more grateful but that gratitude is mingled with the sting of knowing it will never be experienced again on earth. It is a major emptiness, yearning for the cherished thing that is lost.
After-all, the reason for grief is the loss of someone loved. Someone who was loved, is still loved the same and will never cease to be loved. Knowing true love is something well worth being thankful for. It is entirely possible to feel the agony of grief while at the same time being truly and genuinely thankful for the many wonderful blessings in life, including the gift of your husband and the marriage you shared together. Others on my list this year: Jesus, my health, our safety, my babies, our kitty, my parents and much more.
Why do people make such assumptions about the grief of other people?
A couple of my other “pet peeves” are these assumptions: “She is not crying, that must mean she isn’t sad anymore.” We widows know that is so incredibly far from the truth. The outside is fighting to keep a brave front while the inside most days feels the opposite. When people assume this way, we can become kind of self-conscious about how we act around loved ones. Like some of the loved ones we may feel obligated to share Thanksgiving with…. What we really need to be able to do is relax and have permission to feel whatever we are feeling.
Another interesting assumption I have come across comes after sharing how I am truly doing. It was presumed that I didn’t care about their grief or their loss of my husband or any other person they have lost.
The truth is, just because I say I’m sad doesn’t mean I think I am the only one who is sad. I do realize that others are grieving my husband in different ways and grieving other people and other major losses in their lives. I get it. Other widows get this idea too. So then I wished I told them something like… perhaps instead of becoming self focused and defensive, It would help your widowed loved one if you just stopped a moment to feel honored she trusted you with her pain and her story and then give her a moment to recompose and she will be more than likely be very happy to offer you the same compassionate listening. Don’t judge her. She is trying not to drown in her own emotions and you reacting this way doesn’t help.
We must be so careful with our assumptions.
This Thanksgiving, give yourself permission to fully feel your feelings.
If you are sad, that is okay.
Gratitude and Grief are friends. They exist together most of the time.
And guilt and silly assumptions are unwelcome Thanksgiving guests.
I am very thankful for this community of ladies and the diligence of the Hope for Widows staff and volunteers who make this blogging support network possible.
In Hope & Thanksgiving prayers,
From This Widow Mama
Do you know someone ready to make a meaningful impact this holiday season? Join us in embracing the true spirit of giving by getting involved in the Hope for Widows Foundation’s ‘Bring Hope Holiday Assistance Program’ virtual initiative, now in its third year. This program directly supports widows who may be struggling to provide gifts and essentials for their children during the holiday season.
For many widows facing financial challenges, the choice between keeping the lights on, putting food on the table, and buying presents can be heart-wrenching. When you add the responsibilities of solo parenting, the weight of grief, and the toll it takes emotionally and physically, the burden becomes even greater.
To become a sponsor and access more information, and details visit the following link: https://bit.ly/3ZROBWo
For our widows/hope sisters in the community, please stay tuned as we’ll be sending out widow applications for sponsorship this holiday season very soon.
Let’s come together and make a difference in the lives of those who need it most.