Published on
Nov 21, 2022
Published on
February 19, 2023

Grief and Gratitude

Feeling mixed about the week of giving thanks? Sometimes starting with grief may help you get to gratitude.

Podcast Transcript:

This week tends to be a highly focused time for observing gratitude and thankfulness. I love the intention of this and find myself excited by the energy toward gratitude … and I find parts of myself getting caught on pieces in my life that aren’t just things to be grateful for. These other things are messy, mixed, painful, disappointing, or things I feel resentment about rather than gratitude. How do we hold both?

Sometimes, before we can get to gratitude, we have to start with grief.

Grief for the things we don’t want, didn’t choose, don’t feel in control of, or are struggling to accept.

Grief for the losses, the “not yets,” the waitings, the misses.

Grief for the family realities we’ve survived, the friendships that fell away, the relationships we yearn for.

Grief for the parts of ourselves that haven’t changed fast enough, that keep us stuck, that keep us at war within our bodies or our minds.

Grief for the betrayals from our loved ones or ourselves, the disappointment of those in power, the fear of the unknowns.

Only until we’ve really acknowledged the grief we’re holding can we see where gratitude fits in, can we find its rightful space alongside everything else.

My story of grief and gratitude?

I just received a clear breast MRI, indicating “no evidence of disease” two years past my diagnosis and active treatment of breast cancer. In this, I feel good: some relief, some peace, some encouragement, and some good old-fashioned actualized enlightened gratitude about overcoming hard things. But I still mostly feel grief: The anxiety and discomfort of experiencing the scan, the difficulty waiting for results, the distressing memories of treatment, the trauma still being processed in my body, the negative side effects of my ongoing preventative treatment, the worry for the future, the sadness of what’s changed. And I find that the more I allow myself to acknowledge, honor, and process through the grief, the more space I create for gratitude.

If you’re stuck in between grief and gratitude and want a place to process, therapy is a great place to start. We have clinicians with availability during these holiday weeks that can help support you and begin the process of working through. Please reach out; you don’t have to be alone.

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