Much of the grieving process focuses on our loss. We miss our loved one so much that it hurts, and we wonder how we will ever make it through the pain. We spend time looking back at the past with regret and grow anxious as we anticipate a future without our loved one in it. We wonder how we will ever make it through the upcoming holiday, our anniversary, their birthday – or how we will pay the bills, change the furnace filter or complete daily tasks that once were done by our partner. We spend hours ruminating over how we wish we could have done things differently: the harsh words said in anger, the missed opportunities for time spent together, the “I love you” understood but never spoken. Our mind takes us on a journey from past to future that only adds to our misery. “I wish …” replaces “I will …” Grief plays awful games with our mind, heart and spirit.

To break the endless cycle of “what ifs” and “if only,” I suggest you uncover the hidden blessings that have come into your life the moment grief took up residence in your being. It seems odd to suggest that anything of beauty could emerge from such a difficult time, yet gifts do emerge when you take the time to ponder what has happened since you bid goodbye. In my research on grief, I asked this question, and the responses were varied and many. Among them:

  • I realized that I was stronger than I thought I was.
  • I now know who my true friends are.
  • I now make it a priority to spend time with family and friends.
  • I am there for others who are grieving in a way I could not be before.
  • I have raised money or participated in a charity walk or planted a tree in my loved one’s memory.
  • I value the gifts that are contained in every day.

Perhaps you recognize yourself in some of these. Perhaps you have other ones that you would add to the list. By refocusing on what we have gained, it helps us to adjust to what we have lost – and it may just make the journey through grief a little easier.

Nancy Weil is a leading authority on humor and grief. She serves as Director of Grief Support for eleven cemeteries and is a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Grief Management Specialist. Through her company, The Laugh Academy, she offers products to ease the stress and pain that grief can bring. Bandages for Your Heart on DVD or CD, Laugh for the Health of It on CD and her new book, If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might, can be ordered by clicking here.

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Comment by Nancy Weil on June 16, 2016 at 8:36am


My heart aches for you and your family. I would not imagine that you could see any light so soon after your loss. These comments were made by people who were further down the path the grief. They were able to gain some perspective and see some blessings contained within their pain. Right now your blessings may be found in seeing how many people care about you and your son. You may be hearing stories of the many lives he impacted in a positive way. You may be surprised by the comfort provided by friends and even strangers. My dear mentor, Darcie Sims, used to say that in the early days of grief, you need to find someone to hold the light for you when all you can see is darkness. I pray that you have that grief companion in your life right now. 

Comment by Jodie purcell on June 15, 2016 at 3:08pm
Maybe because i just lost me son in april to suicide i am finding difficulty with thid article. Currently i see no positives in losing him.

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