Friday was my little brother's 35th birthday. My family and I got together to celebrate his life, but he wasn't there to celebrate it with us. Still, I'm grateful for this tradition and for the gifts of great loss.
Please understand, if you are currently and actively grieving someone, I can't promise this post will be a consolation. It has been 15 years since my brother passed and while not one day has gone by without me thinking of him, I do it with a heart full of gratitude now. But it was a process to get here.
You'll notice I said I am grateful for the gifts of great loss. Yes, of course, I am grateful for the time I got to spend with my brother and for what he brought to my life. That part is easy. But you may be wondering how on earth I could be grateful for my grief, especially if you have experienced the exquisite pain of grieving a loved one. But for this part of my journey, I am also truly grateful.
Here are just a few of the gifts of great loss:
I have a newfound appreciation for the meaningful relationships in my life and for spending quality time with those closest to me.
My immediate family has also grown significantly closer since Ky's passing and we hug more, share more and tell one another how much we love each other more.
I am able to connect with others who have experienced loss more easily. I consider it a responsibility to reach out to those who have lost a loved one, and assure them that they aren't alone and that they have a confidant in me. And I genuinely feel honored to do so.
I am able to put everyday unpleasant situations in perspective, and easily shift from frustration into a place of gratitude.
And finally, I am overwhelmingly grateful to have experienced the type of love and the caliber of bond that I felt with Ky. My grief was only initially unbearable because I was gifted such an amazing relationship to begin with. I always say, I would take those 19 years with my brother over 91 with a sibling I didn't feel so connected to.
Ultimately, I had to want these gifts. I had to choose to accept them into my life.
One of my favorite quotes is by Psychiatrist, Author & Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
We all have the choice of whether or not to believe that we are a victim when we lose someone we love dearly. We get to decide if this is a thing that happened to us, or for us. I'm not saying this choice is easy, and certainly not possible immediately following the death of someone we deeply care for. I'm just saying that if we are able to reframe how we process grief and subsequently experience gratitude, the possibilities for growth and positive change are nearly endless.
And this is my open invitation to anyone out there who may be struggling with their grief or other emotions that don't seem to pass, please feel free to reach out. It would be my honor and privilege to be available to and for you.
Sending so much Love, Light, and Purely Positive Vibes your way, Kris