November… Thanksgiving… time to be thankful.
As a grieving parent, the word THANKFUL has us cringing because being thankful conflicts with our grief.
How can we grieve and be thankful?
Since we grieve, can we even be thankful?
I’ve learned how conflicting being a grieving parent can be, constantly in doubt of my own thoughts and feelings.
I feel happy but should I feel sad?
I feel sad but should I be happy?
I laugh but should I be laughing?
I’m not laughing but should I laugh?
I am watching TV but should I be thinking about him?
I am thinking about him but is it ok if I watch TV?
I’m enjoying reading a book but should I be doing something to keep his memory alive?
I’m keeping his memory alive but is it ok if I just sit and read this book?
As grieving parents, our minds are constantly over thinking, over analyzing every thought, every action we do. We fear feeling as if we no longer care, no longer love, no longer miss our child.
Do those around us feel as if we no longer care, love, miss because we are trying to function as normal as we can as we continue to carry this heavy burden in our hearts?
So it is hard to feel as if we can be thankful.
Every Thanksgiving we would go around the table at dinner time and we would say what we were thankful for prior to digging into all the wonderful food someone spent hours preparing.
Over the years it has become more of a hit and miss event, we no longer do it each and every Thanksgiving.
Do I miss it? No. It is so hard to think of something to be thankful for when I feel it conflicts with my grief.
Grief is such a mysterious, controlling emotion.
I know deep down it is ok to be happy, to laugh, to love, to have fun, to be thankful. I know having a smile on my face does not mean I care less, I love less, I miss less. I can be me and still love and miss my baby.
Related post: Grieve. Be happy. Repeat.
No one but me will truly know what is always on my mind and in my heart when it comes to my grief, my sorrow, my loss.
I will grieve him the rest of my life but I can also be happy. I am human, my emotions will come and go as they do for anyone who has not gone through a loss, there might just be a few more weepy days for me.
I can’t force my emotions, my grief – they will impact me in their own time, in their own way.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I started honestly thinking of ways I could be thankful in regards to my son, my loss, my grief.
It was hard, extremely hard to put 2 very conflicting terms in my mind and get them to coincide together.
Two very different words, on the extreme opposite side of the spectrum.
But it honestly allowed me to really think, it allowed me to open myself up to a whole new thought process. A new way to look at my grief.
I spent so much time going through my grief and making sure I feel as if I’m grieving the way I need to that it was shocking to try and think about reasons I might be thankful.
How can you be thankful your child died? It was not about being thankful that he died, it was trying to be thankful for what I got out of his life.
Related Post: Thankful For What?
It took time to stop my battling against that word, I felt there was no way I could or should be thankful.
But when I allowed myself to really open up, I was able to come up with a few reasons I’m thankful.
I’m thankful for:
– The 12 days I got with him. I got 12 days when I know there are others who did not get even 1 day.
– Getting to hold, touch and love him. I spent as much time as I could with him.
– Finally being a mom. He was here, he made me a mom. Even after he died, I was still a mom just without a baby.
– How great my pregnancy was with him. I don’t think I could have asked for a better pregnancy.
– The laughs he gave us while he was in the hospital. A time when you think laughing is impossible but he did it, he got us to laugh. It almost felt at times he was playing jokes on the nurses and doctors. These are memories we will always cherish.
– The people he brought into our lives. There are people in our lives 8 years later because of him.
– The grief. Don’t think I’m crazy. To me, I grieve because I love, if I did not love I would not grieve. A love for a child is like no other love you will ever know.
– The fact that he is my son and always will be.
– The chance to share him with his 2 little brothers.
Yes, I grieve but yes I can be thankful, even for normal everyday family stuff. It might be hard to put 2 very different concepts together but it does not hurt to try.
Being thankful for something does not mean we are giving up on grieving. It means we are looking at our grief in a different way even if only for a moment.
We constantly are re-evaluating our relationship with our grief, I just chose to try something new this year. Look at it from a very different perspective.
I took a moment to be thankful for what I did get out of all this grief, all because I love a little boy who is no longer here with us.
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash
Marisa is the mother to 3 boys, one gone too soon and 2 keeping her on her toes. Drake died in 2010 at 12 days, 16 hours old after being pulled from life support due to injuries he sustained during delivery. Her other 2 boys: Aden and Gavin, whom she loves every minute with them.