Comfort for the Day

Living through the seasons of grief.

Grieving and Giving Thanks

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Is Grieving and giving thanks compatible?

To my friends who mourn in this season of giving thanks, I give you space to do so.  I give you freedom to grieve.  I offer you support in your bereavement.   The searing paradox of what you are experiencing and what others are celebrating may feel like a hot iron pressing down on the already shredded parts of your heart.  Oh how I wish I could take this all away from you, but it is beyond my ability to do so.  What I can do, is let you know I care.  It is true that I don’t fully understand your pain today.  Maybe even you don’t.

But please absorb this idea; there is a Divine Comforter who does understand AND knows how to soothe the deep ache. Welcome the blessing of this spiritual reality.

What do I do with the ache?

May I suggest spilling your pain out on paper?  Let the feelings flow, let them go.  Then with personal discipline, choose to write down a list of a few things for which you are honestly thankful.  CAUTION:   writing a “thanks-giving” list before attending to your pain, might result in building a façade ~ a pretence or false appearance of gratitude.  This is yet another season in your grieving.  How do you want to live through it?  Living genuinely with our grief, means being honest with the pain.  Deal with the hurts first so there will be space for the gratitude.

One Grievers Gratitude

This season I am thankful for

The hands that hold mine,

Hearts that hurt with me

Ears that always listen

Arms always ready to hug

Friends who always support

Family who always remember

By Tanya Lord

My Thanksgiving prayer for you is that you will feel emotionally safe where ever you spend this holiday. I pray that your heart will be receptive to comfort, tenderness, and healing.  I trust the work of the Divine Comforter to provide the solace, peace, and hope you need most.  May you have a genuinely thank-filled day.

3 comments on “Grieving and Giving Thanks

  1. Anonymous
    November 28, 2015

    Hello Karen, Thanks for your comments. I learned as a result of attending a grief group that grieving can last a very long time, and that it is all right and appropriate that it can last a long time. It seems to me that grief for what is lost is part of how we know that we valued the person, relationship, family connection, or set of experiences that we have lost. Without valuing what is lost, we would not feel grief. It seems to me that in our culture, we are often expected to buck up and just get over loss, even when our losses have been personally devastating. Our cultural attitudes which mandate that we grieve expeditiously- and not too long- seem at odds with the reality of the human condition where grief can really hurt for a long time, and can last for a long time. I lost the reality of a possibility of important connections with my biological family when I was very young through divorce. In the past few years, I have come to see how I never, ever felt that I had the freedom or space to grieve losses regarding my family as a very young child. I believe that there are probably many others who feel like I do, who may not take the opportunity or feel the incentive to be public about these feelings. I personally feel that doing this is awkward, but possibly it will help someone to read about my thoughts. Now, I have more real blessings than I can count, a roof over my head, and plenty to eat, but have had a sense of loss off and on throughout my life. I hope to authentically grieve my losses. Thanks for writing about yours. All kinds of research shows that people who can enter into a sense of community, bond with others, and experience true intimacy live longer and healthier lives than those who don’t. Not feeling allowed to grieve losses because I felt that others found my sadness inconvenient or intolerable has been painful. Hopefully, with effort the future can be different as we learn together through loss. Thanks again for your comments.

    • A wise man once wrote, “The only way to work through grief is to grieve.” While delayed grief may have its challenges, it will also have its deep rewarding healing. The work is difficult, but not beyond the human heart and capacity to stay with the process until we reach new understandings and release from the pain. You did an excellent job of communicating how the bereavement and grief experiences are affecting your life. May you continue to trust that God has a deep and personal interest in your pain and knows how to comfort you through it.

  2. Anonymous
    November 29, 2015

    Thanks for your response. I appreciate that it is compassionate and insightful. I really don’t know yet, what lessons are there for me in acknowledging feelings of loss, however I do look for ways to be part of the human community and come to real and life long lessons from acknowledging loss. Thanks again, Anonymous

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