Finding and living in the balance of grief and gratitude does not come naturally. It is a state of heart and mind learned only through suffering, sorrow and experience. This is my 4th Thanksgiving without my son since he died on August 12, 2019. Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday with him and my heart, soul and spirit are in pieces this time of the year.
Thankfulness and gratitude are typically expressed for all the good things we have – family, friends, job and good health. We don’t usually express our gratitude for the bad or painful circumstances in our lives, at least, not while in the midst of them. I’ve learned a lot since losing Caleb and today I’m sharing what good I have found within the bad that happened to me, and what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving Day.
Finding Good Within The Bad:
5 Unlikely Things I’m Thankful For
I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore.
You know…the negative, annoying, petty things that people do sometimes or the nagging, gnawing, chip on the shoulder type stuff. I take things and people with a grain of salt and let the negative energy roll off my back. My son is dead. Small stuff doesn’t matter anymore.
My suffering has increased my compassion.
My heart is broken. Until I’m reunited with Caleb my heart is broken beyond repair, but not beyond its usefulness. The compassion I have for people has grown exponentially since losing Caleb and using my pain for a purpose has shown me that good things can come out of bad stuff. I now have a nonprofit that gives me an avenue to share goodness, love and hope to my community. I hate how the nonprofit came to be, but the work it does is so, so good.
A story to save and change lives.
There’s so much pain but also so much beauty in my testimony. I’m thankful I have a story I can share in the hopes of saving a life or helping someone who’s suffering. It has to be this way. Caleb isn’t coming back to me. And if it has to be this way, I’m going to make it count. Caleb dying is very bad, but sharing his story to save lives is very, very good!
Chores, errands and yard work.
I’m grateful for the ordinary, everyday, familiar, usual tasks and responsibilities. When I sit down to really think about what helps me get through a day, it’s this. From pouring my first cup of coffee in the morning to writing in my journal at night, it’s the everyday ordinary monotonous things that keep my feet moving from one thing to the next.
My tears are the only physical connection I have to Caleb. When I can feel them well up in my eyes and flow down my face, that is my love for Caleb and the brokenness I feel that he’s no longer with me. My tears flow easy, often and I’m not ashamed of them at all.
When I had to drive away from the cemetery knowing my sons beautiful earthly body would forever lay beneath the grass, I couldn’t see that that I would ever find any good in the bad. When I’m face down on the floor in a puddle of tears with sobs so deep I can hardly catch my breath, it is very hard to feel the good in the bad. But God. God has honored his word and shown me just what Paul meant when he wrote, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” Child loss is the most wretched and inconceivable pain a parent could ever experience. It is also unlikely to find things you’re thankful for. There are so many things and reasons for which I’m not thankful and that seems to be what I find myself focusing on, but it is getting easier to see the good, feel the good and be thankful for unlikely things.
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing this with your hurting friend and family.