I have learned so much over this past year – about myself, about the concept of grief, and about humanity as a whole. This first year without my husband has been so very difficult and so painful…..for so many reasons. But it has also been a year of some amazing “gifts” – many of which I never would have fully realized or received had we not had to take this journey of grief. It’s hard to look at the “gifts” through any life tragedy but they are there and frankly this is not the first life tragedy I have had to walk and I have also realized gifts from the other journeys traveled.
The gifts (and in no particular order):
1. Our family. Blessed beyond belief for the family we have……because of family we were able to make it through the first year without Mark. When we weren’t sure we would make it through the first day; the first week; the first month…..our family lifted us and carried us over the rough patches. Our family has become stronger and we accept one another for being simply who we are…..we survived because we had each other.
2. Living life….in the moment. Appreciating each and every day for the experience it has to offer. Being present and engaged. Life is precious and has taught me that each moment matters.
3. Precious memories of a life well lived. Through the heartache and sadness we have glorious memories of my husband and the moments etched in our hearts and in our minds of him and the life we lived with him. They are like paintings in our minds and in our hearts. We call on them and share our version of those paintings/memories with one another – it brings smiles and laughter.
4. Understanding and embracing strength. A commitment to move forward and be a guide for my children; my siblings and my colleagues. Life is all about lessons and although you may not like the cards you are dealt – your response and the manner in which you rise to those challenges are the gifts we give others. I am stronger now than I have ever been and my fragile moments simply make me stronger. Suiting up and showing up to live life – to be a mom; a sister; a daughter; an employee; a citizen of the world – are truly my obligations.
5. Kindness. Mark lived a life of pure kindness and caring. Kindness matters. A simple comment or connection with another goes a long way. You never know what that moment and that act of kindness can do for someone. Be kind. Always. It is my purpose in carrying on.
We come out of the darkness of this first year – still strong – as Mark would have wanted. Telling his stories and sharing memories of our lives together…..sharing his stories – as he would have wanted even more.
There are silver linings to every dark cloud. Sometimes you have to wait a bit but they are there. Life offers us gifts …… even in grief.