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Photo courtesy of K. Farwell

 

I’m doing it again. Crying. I read somewhere this week that grief is like a spiral—-you think it has gotten better, and then it suddenly and unexpectedly  washes  over  you again. It hits your soul like an arrow. I want something to make the pain go away. I know it can’t be alcohol, food, drugs, gambling, buying, sex—–no one thing can make it go away. I am stuck with it. I know God is with me in my suffering, but I still get angry from time to time at him/her for letting it happen. And, yes, I am grateful for all the happy moments, all the hugs, all the “I love you” messages exchanged, and all the shared prayers that God gifted me with when he gave me my relationship with my father. I am grateful for what my father taught me and what my father has given me.  Of course I know the stages of grief and that all I am going though is “normal”—–but that doesn’t make it any less painful. There is this big hole, this big void, in my life. My father is no longer there. I cannot pick up the phone and call him. I cannot get in my car, drive seven hours, and walk into the house I grew up in and be engulfed in his loving, welcoming embrace.

My program tells me to focus on creating an attitude of gratitude when I am feeling down. So, today, I will share with you what I am grateful for. Doing so seems appropriate on the eve of Thanksgiving. I am grateful for my faith and for my spiritual journey. I am grateful for my dogs who constantly share their love with me. I am grateful for all of the wonderful friends I have who accept me as I am and are always there to give a helping hand, to offer their support, and to share their thoughts, observations, and beliefs. I am grateful I have a warm home to live in with food in the refrigerator. I am grateful that I have an adequate retirement income. I am grateful that I have appliances in my home that make my life easier and more enjoyable.  I am grateful I found a program of recovery because without it I would not be here.

When you weigh the pain of grief against all the things I have to be grateful for, it becomes apparent there is much more in my life to be grateful for than there is to be sad about. But  this grief is not a matter of  quantity or even quality. This grief is not comparable to things, and what I find most effective in dealing with the waves of grief I experience is not tangible. It is not measurable;  it cannot be named, described, or defined. It is grounded in the realm of spirit and truth. When all else in my life is gone; it will be with me wherever I am and in whatever form I exist. I cannot tell you what this mysterious “it” is. Perhaps naming it is not important; what matters is the absolute truth and strength of its existence now and through eternity.

 

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