Elisabeth, a new SoulStream Partner, is offering us this honest reflection on gratitude in the midst of grief and loss. Thank you, Elisabeth, for helping us see that gratitude and grief can be experienced together without contradiction. I appreciate this vulnerable window into your heart.
Thankfulness and gratitude has added a whole new dimension to my story in the last couple of years. It is coming up to two years ago that my husband was given 6 – 12 months to live. In the midst of that shattering news, the invitation to just be thankful for each day became a practice that felt essential, giving the rewards of joy in the moments. Sharing those days of encouraging words and gestures from family and friends, made us so grateful for the people surrounding us, giving us a whole new appreciation of all the wonderful riches of the love of family and the lasting friendships we had made in our life together. From all over BC; growing up in the Fraser Valley, moving to Smithers and then to Dease Lake and finally to Likely before returning to the Fraser Valley 5 years ago.
My husband passed on in July of 2019; if it was because of our practice of gratitude that had become such a part of our last months together or not, I’m not sure, but I found myself continuing on in the midst of the grief. I found it tremendously helpful to think and be thankful of what we had rather than to ask the whys and dwell on what was not to be.
One example of how it has helped me: the majority of the photos I have of him, he is laughing and people often shared that they would always remember his laugh. The realization came to me of how much I was missing the laughter we had shared, and I started spiralling down, then the thought came, that I wouldn’t be missing it if it hadn’t been part of our life together. Thankfulness sprang up and I asked Holy Spirit to remind me of some of the things we laughed about and soon there was a smile on my face, even with the tears flowing. I discovered that even as sorrow, pain and yes, anger were present and welcomed, I could be thankful. Those emotions would not be present if love had not been there.
Lately, the tree in the photo I’m sharing has played a big part in my healing. It’s been pretty beat up, lots of limbs cut off and not always healing up smoothly but look how beautiful it is! The new growth on top is pretty vigorous and I love all the moss growing on the trunk. I’m looking forward to seeing it in the spring. I think it is one of those trees that is full of blooms. Hope just abounds as I look at it. There is so much God has shown me in creation that gives me pictures of life and how mercy and grace are illustrated. It fills my heart with gratitude.