Grief is not a “gift” one wants. Grief is forced upon you. It doesn’t give you a choice. It’s presence can be over-powering and suffocating. You move through grief , taking life’s lessons as you go. It’s not pleasant to endure. As I look back, I’m grateful for many of the gifts I received along this journey.
- The more you love, the greater the grief. On days when grief seemed impossible to endure, I remembered the great love that I had experienced. And I realized that I wouldn’t have given up a single moment of that love to lessen the grief I was feeling.
- Seize the moment. You never know when death will come. We are only promised this moment. Don’t wait to tell someone how much you love them. Never miss a chance to give a hug or smile. You may not get another opportunity.
- Show your appreciation. It wasn’t until after my husband died that truly realized how important he was to my life on a daily basis. He prepared paid the bills, shopped for groceries, ran errands, drove me to and from work, held my hand, and listened to me talk. I lost so much the day he died. I wish I had thanked him more.
- Recognize the gift you have. I was as guilty as anyone of complaining about my husband’s faults: he snored; he was a dreamer; he procrastinated. After he was gone, I would have done anything to have one more night laying awake listening to his snoring.
- Cherish those you love. Stop complaining about things that won’t matter in the long run. Be grateful for the time you have now. It’s not a competition on who does the most around the house. Who took out the trash last won’t matter in the long run. Decide to say only positive things about your spouse or family members to others. It will change the way you think about the ones you love.
- Never miss an opportunity to show love. Some might think I say “I love you” too much. But, I promised that I would never miss an opportunity to say those words again.
- Relationships that withstand grief will be unbreakable. My children and I had to learn to be a family of three. We are probably closer than we would have been had their father lived. We spent lots of time together just trying to survive. Many people don’t understand the bond that we have. They don’t understand the reaction my kids have when they hear friends criticizing their own parents. Others are not prepared for the defenses that come into play when any one of our family is “attacked” verbally or otherwise. Our interdependence was formed through our grief. As our family has grown, the defenses have spread out to in-laws and step-family.
When it comes to loving my family and friends, treating every moment as if it may be our last is the greatest gift I received from Grief. I never miss a chance to let my husband know how much I love and appreciate him. I want all of my kids to know they are precious and loved. I hold more tightly to those that I love because I’ve learned the value of that love.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 NIV