Day 26, “Gratitude”
It’s been a very hard week for us. And gratitude, though always present, hasn’t been oozing out of my soul.
When grieving, it is easy to get lost in the pain of what we do not have, that one incredible life that is no more, and to lose sight of what we have. It’s a work of strength and grace to breathe in thanksgiving when the heart aches so deeply.
So today I inhale a deep breath of strength and grace. And I exhale gratitude.
For my children.
For my grandchild.
For love and friendship.
And for this man. This one who has kept his arms around me, and has had courage to stand when he wanted to fall.
For this man. My best friend. The one who loves my soul and tends to my heart with kindness. The one who carries this deep ache with me. The one who simply knows and sits in solitude with me when the words run dry.
I have never been weaker. I have never been stronger. I have never been more empty. I have never been more full.
I didn’t want this. I didn’t get to choose. It isn’t the way I would have written the story. It isn’t the way I would have painted the landscape of my life.
Like this portrait, my life feels a little messy and out of proportion. I didn’t allow myself to obsess over getting it right as my brush hit the paper. I didn’t let myself start over. It is what it is, imperfections and all. A growing discover of who I am and who I am becoming.
I’m stronger than I knew. I’m weaker than I ever wanted to become.
I am a mother who grieves.
I am a woman who loves.
Finding my way.
There is a huge part of grieving that is about survival. And though it is not wrong, and indeed necessary, to take care of myself and to be aware of my own needs, this is not all about me.
From day one, it wasn’t all about me. I have a husband and children who needed me. I was not on an island. My healing is intricately linked to theirs. I heal. They heal. We heal. It’s one and it’s all.
And then there is the choice I made to grieve quite publically through my blog and social media. In the reaching out, in the extending of words, my hope is that other hurting souls will feel less alone, more understood, and very safe.
It is not all about me.
My heart reaches out with words.
They are my gift to you.
I hope they heal.
I hope they inspire.
I hope they challenge.
The true strength of the griever is discovered when one commands the heart to pump joy and hope through the veins. It requires the very muscle that pumps blood through your humanity, to also pump life into your spirit.
Grief exists because of Love. But until Love welcomes Joy and Hope to join the journey of Grief, there is no Healing.
What Heals You?
What Heals Me?
Discovering things that make me happy have opened the way for Joy and Hope. Changing the space in my home. Creating peace through sacred space has been a healing balm.
Picking up these brushes, touching them to paint, and allowing myself to feel on paper again. Healing comes.
The power of creating beauty through space and color and light, and also expressing the the journey through the beauty of words.
This is what heals me.
Is healing me.
Day 30, “Reflection”
There is only one more day in this #captureyourgriefproject. Today we reflect.
There are times in the past 1 year, 2 months and 9 days that looking in the mirror has been utterly terrifying. I forget some days that as well as not feeling the same, I do not look the same. I am changed. There are dozens of things that have changed that are horrific, challenging, and just plain hard.
But as I reflect on where I am now in this grief journey, I want to take a moment to talk to myself about a few things. You’re welcome to listen in.
As I stand here looking at you, it would be easy for me to describe your tired eyes, your unwashed hair, your weakened body, but that’s not what I see.
I see strength.
I see love.
I see hope.
I see a woman who is a warrior and I’m proud of who I am. I see a woman whose love and empathy have intensified.
I see you.
I see your spirit that is rising out of the ashes, changed but unquenchabe.
I see a woman who chose to do the hard work, to allow healing to begin. I see a woman with one arm behind her holding on to a love that cannot end, and another arm reaching forward ready to accept that it is possible for hope to rise and dreams to still come true.
I see you, woman, and I am proud of you.
So as the sun sets on this month of healing, my biggest hope is that I will continue to find healing through connection and creativity and that even amidst deep grief, I will allow joy to rise.
I wrote about the movie “Inside Out” on my blog a number of months ago and said,
“And there you have the beauty and bittersweetness of grief. As the human spirit walks through Anger at pain and loss, and allows Sadness to be freely expressed, it is then that Joy can be experienced again as well, and often with that hand over hand simultaneous expression that is Sadness and Joy interwoven.”
Read the full post here: https://tracieloux.wordpress.com/2015/06/23/the-inside-out-of-grief/
My extreme gratitude to my friend Carly Marie at “Project Heal” for pouring out her heart and helping so many others heal through this project.