27 November, 2023

Grief and gratitude


I often comment that I am inspired by other blogger’s writings. Sometimes I’ll say, “I’m off to think about that more now,” and I make a note of it in a file. I might think about it and respond within a week or two. But it’s not unusual to take a bit longer. Or even five years longer!

Mel’s post about grief here popped up for me today. It’s a great post, and I’m linking it here because I know not everyone reads her blog, especially if you are triggered by mention of children.

There were two ideas from her post that I loved, and want to discuss. The first was the idea that “you are not your grief.” It is part of us, but it is not us. I really like that. It’s the same with having no children. Sure, that created grief for many of us. But we are so much more than our ability or not to have children. We are so much more than people who grieved that loss. And we are all so much more than childless or childfree or any combination of that. I like that reminder. We’re whole people. Everything we go through is just part of us. It might take time for us to get to that understanding, as initially it feels like it is everything. But we come to realise – some of us sooner than others – that we are so so much more than one thing (however huge) that we’ve been through. It doesn’t define us. We are more.

Secondly, Mel made this comment,

 “… it helped me to realize grief for what it is; something that is doing its hardest to help during a time period that only hurts.

That sentence blew my mind. Grief, as discussed in her post, is a way to get through something we are experiencing. It was an amazing idea that grief might actually help us. But when I think about it, it actually does. It helped protect myself, in terms of exposure to others or other situations that might be upsetting, but also in terms of allowing me to actually experience the feelings of grief, and to deal with them. It let me feel the grief itself, and mourn what I had lost. That was honouring my loss, my husband’s loss, and my losses themselves. It was an important ritual to go through, because I could then begin to recover without feeling guilty about not being sad enough. I’d been sad enough, but it became time not to be.

In dealing with those feelings of grief, I was able to work through each of them in terms of understanding what were rational and what were irrational or based on assumptions or stereotypes. That helped create resilience. I was able to learn what I actually thought about my situation. The grief I felt taught me more about myself, and that was really valuable. It definitely helped you.

Of course, I wouldn’t or maybe couldn’t have appreciated this at the time. But so many years later, I can see the truth of it. And even be grateful for it. Thanks, Mel.



  1. Oh, this is so good that I'm starting my comment before I finish reading the post. It's my turn to say, "I'm off to think about that more now!" :)

    This sentence: "I'd been sad enough, but it became time not to be." Wow. That's so true. I felt the depth and extent of my pain for many, many years. Pain was pretty much all I felt. But I deserved to feel other things too. We all deserve to feel joy or at least peace.

    Grief as a helper... Yep, I'm definitely going to be thinking about that! Thank you. <3

  2. Oooh, that's a fabulous exploration of grief.

  3. Super helpful thoughts for my family and for me. Thank you.