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My Beloved Just Died! What The Heck Do I Have To Be Grateful for?

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What a valid question in the middle of so much pain, loss and change!

The answer depends upon your perspective and where you are in your grief. Although there are similar phases/stages of grief, YOU go through your grief process in your own unique way. Most of the time, you don’t have a hint of what that means until you are forced into the journey of grief and loss.

It’s common to have anxious thoughts about a seemingly precarious and uncertain future without your loved one. When you start projecting what is ahead and start to imagine (make up) stories about what life will be like without your loved one, it can feel outrageously overwhelming. This kind of thinking can send you spiraling out of control over the many potential problems and obstacles ahead and leave you feeling ill equipped and unprepared to resolve them.

Los Angeles grief support group - praying hands

So, is it possible to experience gratefulness?

Yes, sometimes just for a moment at a time. It’s important to slow down, to consciously breathe and to practice being mindful in this moment, right here, right now. This can help you feel more in control by slowing down that feeling of “circling down the drain.” It takes you out of whatever panic mode you’re experiencing by being present and mindful.

Believe it or not, it can also help you to focus on moments of gratefulness.

Here are some grateful considerations to help get you get started.

I am grateful that:

  • I have my thinking faculties. They may be foggy but I still have the ability to think.
  • I am independent… or that I have wonderful support people to depend upon.
  • I can feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the wind blow through my hair.
  • I have a supportive grief community.
  • I am surrounded by nature.
  • I can hear the birds sing to me in the morning.
  • I can hear my children’s/grandchildren’s playful laughter that soothes my soul.
  • I have wonderful and supportive children & family members.
  • I have awesome friends.
  • I am not alone; or, thank goodness I have some time to myself!
  • My beloved is no longer suffering.
  • I know that I gave my all and did the best I could.
  • I still have my health.
  • I am able to feel inspired by others.
  • For the unexpected kindnesses and caring of virtual strangers.
  • The sanctuary of my home.
  • Being able to laugh when I can and when I thought I no longer could.
  • For the love I have in my life.
  • For all the wonderful memories that will sustain me.
  • I get to do what I want to do now.
  • That I don’t have guilt.
I forgave myself.
  • For my capacity for love and compassion.
I hung in there and stayed the course until the end.
  • I have my precious pet companion.
  • I can escape into reading or music.
  • That I have my work and sense of purpose.
  • I’m courageous and resilient.
  • My sense of humor! Thank goodness, it helps me through.

I strongly encourage you to continue to add to your list!

There are so many things for which to feel grateful. You may just not see or feel them yet.

Gratefulness helps us to change our perspective and gives us the room to breathe and keep on walking. It gives life meaning even when it is so changed. It strengthens us and gives us courage by focusing on what we still have. Gratefulness is a gift — one that we nurture — and in return it nurtures us and helps us to heal.

By Sheila Newton, Ph. D, LMFT