Sunday, July 26, 2015
Gifts From Grief
For the next few weeks I’m going to tell you about some of the wonderful workshops I attended at the National Compassionate Conference recently. This first one is called “Gifts of Grief,” given by Donna Goodrich. I paraphrase the handout she gave us listing the gifts, plus add my own thoughts.
As we all know, we can’t bring back our children who have died. And I’m sure we’ve all said that we’d give up any “gifts” we may receive as a result of their death, just to have them back, alive with us again. We know this can’t happen, so we must look for the gifts we are now offered and let them be a living memory to our child.
Here are some of the gifts you may receive if you attend a TCF meeting:
1 The gift of “courage” to go to your first TCF meeting.
2 The gift of hope from other bereaved parents at that meeting.
3 At that meeting did you find someone: to share precious moments of your child with them? Did you laugh with them? Did they allow you to talk about your child?
The above are all gifts that you may receive at that first meeting. But as you continue going to these meetings, you will find that there will be changes “within you.” Here are some of the changes you may find:
4 You have become a more compassionate and forgiving person than you were before your child died
5 You understand the value of an “I love you” like never before.
6 You understand what matters most in life today.
7 You are more supporting of others going through a loss than ever before.
8 Your life has a better focus and greater meaning since your child died
9 You’ve learned to live in the moment.
10 You may get pictures of your child from others that you didn’t know existed
11 You may talk about your child whether others like it or not.
12 You may give of yourself to others more.
13 You now have more loyal and compassionate friends who understand your loss.
14 You learn happy stories about your child from others.
15 You are a better person now than before our child died.
16 You have a better appreciation of life and who to share it with.
17 You forgive ourselves and others and give them a second chance.
18 You have deep relationships with people you would never have thought of as being close to.
19 You have the ability to empathize with those suffering.
20 You receive “hugs” from heaven when you find pennies, see dragonflies, butterflies, rabbits, rainbows, hummingbirds—all showing up at just the right time. They help us through the darkest days and let us know that our children are still with us in some way.
“There are many gifts in grief and it may take you a lifetime to find them, but they are there for us—given because we continue to love our children and seek a continued connection to that love,” said Donna.
What “gifts” have I received from the death of my daughter? Here are some. I became a book author of two books on surviving grief, never dreaming those books would include my daughter. I became known not only for those books, but everything I have written and contributed to other books, other newsletters, online writings and my eight years of blogs on surviving grief. My life’s desire is now to help others cope with their loss, speak to groups and keep my daughter’s name and life alive in other’s memory. I have learned what is important in life and not to dwell on the little things that don’t matter. I have become more empathetic to others, more giving and have wonderful, lasting friendships with those I can now identify with. I also agree with Donna’s list of changes that take place within yourself.
Our children may be gone from our lives, but nothing can take the beautiful memories we will always keep and treasure.