Grief and Gratitude

This morning, my shower was once again my sanctuary. As the water ran over my tired body, tears also flowed as if they finally had space to be set free. I thought of the people in Nepal whose lives have literally been shaken up and torn apart in a matter of seconds; of the after shocks that must be rippling through their land and their hearts; of the unimaginable pain and fear they must be going through. I inhaled and called upon God and the Angels to help them and then me, so that I didn’t feel so much. But in that same breath, I stopped myself.

‘Why not feel it? Why not feel the pain for a moment, whoever it belongs to?’ I thought. As a sensitive person, I am acutely aware of how important it is to stay in my own energy and not to carry other people’s pain but in this case, I wanted to stay with it. To allow my beating heart that was One with everything to just feel what it felt.

As my mind was flooded with images of the devastation in Nepal, and other places I could not name, I could barely think straight. It was unimaginable, even though it felt like part of me had been transported there. It all happened very quickly but I sent as much love as I could and soon, the pictures altered to remind me of those closer to home. The grief of losing a child, a sister, a partner; those who had lost their hair, their limbs, their money, the life they once knew. It all came rising up. My heart ached for them, and suddenly myself, as my own grief surfaced in the tears. Tears that I could not run to lift my nephew up yesterday when he wanted a hug; for the times that will happen over and over again, for the kind of passionate love I am yet to experience, for the touch I am yet to know, for how it all feels so far away. For the way my teenage years were spent being in pain every day; and how I have to think so much about whether I can travel to London tomorrow to see a friend because I can’t just jump on and off a train or a tube like hundreds of others do. For all the things I have missed out on and those that might always remain a dream. And, and, and…

I began chastising myself for being so self-pitying when I was enjoying a hot shower in a comfy, safe home. I do not have a life-threatening illness, I have not lost a child, nor was I in Nepal. My feelings seemed a little ridiculous at first. But grief is grief. How often do we stand in judgment of ourselves or others rather than remembering how alike we all truly are — how we are all doing the best we can with what we know? And honestly, what I know right now is that it doesn’t serve anyone — least of all ourselves —  to compare anything or to belittle our feelings. They matter. Because we matter.

I do believe that everything happens for a reason. But I also believe that some things may never make sense. I do believe that life is amazing and there is so much to be thankful for but it is also HARD and to deny that is to be a robot. I don’t want to be a robot, I want to be a human. I want to be REAL. I want to be surrounded by others who show me who they are, too. Including their tears. To me, that’s when I get to bear witness to how beautiful and brave they are.

And so, I believe that grief and gratitude are not exclusive. They can walk hand and hand together in our life experience. In fact, I think allowing ourselves to ride the waves of human loss, to break down, to fall apart, to allow ourselves to be cracked open, so to speak, is actually what makes way for a deeper sense of gratitude and faith. It is the reason I do what I do, the reason why I celebrate life as much as I can because I know how painful the flip side can be. It is the reason why some of the people I love most have epic stories of triumph in adversity, because I am drawn to that same fire behind their eyes that says ‘I survived. I now choose to live and I will not waste a moment.’

So whatever you feel, feel it. Give yourself permission to go into that place where you’re mad, sad and heartbroken, even for a few minutes. That is where healing begins, even when we least expect it. Even in the shower on a Sunday morning with the Beatles playing on the radio.

My love and prayers are with you all. Whenever you are in the world.

Anna
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16 thoughts on “Grief and Gratitude

  1. This was beautiful.

    I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I love when I can sense beauty and sacred understanding of a human spirit being born through grief. I am glad I met you. Please write, I like personal stories.

  2. Anna, *you* are such a gift. What more can I say than, “beautiful.”

    I had a similar moment on Saturday evening, albeit from a different perspective, sitting on the sand, looking out at the water of the Long Island Sound. Hearing nothing but the lull of the gentle waves and the calls of the birds, allowing my fingers to trace swirls in the sand. And I just began to weep; for the beauty, for the longing and the forgetting of how much I have missed the sea; for the portal that opened into my sore heart, flooded with gratitude as the sea rushed in. Yes, I’m alive again.

    xo

  3. Thank you for posting this. I am so glad I read it when I did from just coming back from the gym and having a similar experience on the treadmill this morning. My heart still aches for the one I loved with my whole heart, being and soul. I have periods of heartache and feel guilty or that something is wrong with me for still having these feelings. God knows how hard I’ve tried to just let it go. One day at a time and thank you again for translating what I feel in such a beautiful way.

  4. Oh God, thanks Sweetie *hugs* I cried through the whole blog. You are right, grief is grief and sometimes life is simply hard and nothing anyone says can make it better. I didn’t allow me to feel at all for the people in Nepal ‘coz I couldn’t deal with even a tiny bit more pain. Thank you for helping me cry when I tried so hard not to.
    I keep praying for a miracle that one day you can run to your nephew and one day a man finds you and loves you so passionately and also kindly and with all his heart, if anyone deserves it, it’s you.
    Love you! xox

  5. You have the most beautiful soul. I needed to hear those words. Sometimes when I see myself feeling sorry for myself, or feeling like I am “left out” when I see those around me getting their desires of life met…. I realize that I am chastising myself and that is a spiral staircase heading straight down. It is reassuring to hear that I am not alone in those thoughts and also that it is alright to “feel” them.
    Thank You for “exposing” your soul. I pray that you find the closeness you desire and so deserve. I know he is on his way to you as I write this.

    • Bless you, Betsy. You are definitely not alone. We are all human and share many of the same experiences, no matter who we are or what we do. I’m sending you love and compassion. Thank you for your prayers! ❤

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