20. GRATITUDE | Telling people to be grateful while they are grieving is kind of absurd. You cannot force a person to feel gratitude, just like you cannot force someone to feel forgiveness. You either feel it or you don’t. I remember when I started on this journey of grief, people always said count your blessings and be grateful for what you have. I remember wanting to scream in their faces! But I took note of what they were saying and I started keeping a gratitude journal. I started writing down anything I felt grateful for and before to long gratitude lifted me out of a dark pit of despair. What are thoughts about gratitude? Do you feel it and if so, share something you are grateful for.
I did this kind of exercise a while ago and it did help. It was heavily inspired by Richard Wiseman’s masterful evidence based self-help book 59 Seconds.
But this isn’t about rehashing old material so let’s give it a go.
I’m grateful that however short their lives they got what everyone gets.
I’m grateful that their brief lives had stories I can share to keep their memories alive.
I’m grateful that there are people other than us that remember their birthdays with gifts inspired by those stories and nicknames.
I’m grateful that my children sang happy birthday to their brothers and treat them as part of the family rather than something spooky or scary.
I’m grateful I have their ashes in our home in plain sight. I’m grateful that we even have ashes. Not everyone has that luxury.
I’m grateful after a huge effort across parents, charities and the better elements of the medical profession the message is finally starting to stick.
I’m grateful I didn’t have to expend my severely depleted psychic resources on a complex and draining legal battle to find the truth about what happened.
I’m grateful to have met kindred spirits in grief and those that dragged me out of myself and the lure of paralysis by analysis.