Since the writing of my blog in October, I’ve heard from many of you through personal texts, emails, and on social media. I have appreciated your words of encouragement, love, and compassion. Along with my continued presence to what has happened and how I’m feeling, your words have helped me move into a new place: moments of gratitude.
I’ve come to believe that we can hold more than one emotion simultaneously. I used to believe we could only feel one emotion at a time, but life has shown me differently. And in this current season of life, I am experiencing it firsthand.
I now find myself in a place of grief and gratitude, experiencing both, along with moments of joy. It’s hard to admit that joy is here, but she is, reminding me that love, friendship, family, and beautiful experiences continue, along with life itself.
The weekend before Halloween, it snowed here on the front range of Colorado. The snow came down and blanketed the trees, our homes, and the ground amid the fall colors surrounding us. The scene was magical—a distinct moment of both/and.
Nature reflected the season of fall coupled with a big hint of the winter season to come. The snowfall was breathtaking (the first snow always is!)—and when the sun returned, the white blanket glistened in the sunlight. I felt deep gratitude for being able to live in a place where I can experience such beauty. Since that time, the snow melted, the ground dried, and the leaves continued to make their way to the ground.
Those three days of snow-covered landscape once again reminded me of what’s happening inside. I am in the process of sitting with my grief, shedding what I am able to release as of now, and experiencing moments of pure delight as well as the beautiful moments in my life. Since my last writing, I attended my fifty-year high school reunion, saw my grandchildren and great-grandchildren, held a women’s writing retreat, and had lunch with a dear friend.
These moments allowed me to be where I am: both in grief and in gratitude for my life and all I have, even all I gain through the losses I’ve experienced.
At the end of the women’s writing retreat, I asked permission to read a piece that came to me in the darkness of early morning on our third day. I shared the piece I’d written, filled with the expression of my grief along with the guilt and shame connected to the loss of my daughter. My tears flowed and at times I had to stop because of the sobs that wanted to erupt. I saw my tears reflected back to me.
The gratitude I felt for being held in the safety of a loving circle of women was profound. I’d been able to share writing that expressed my deepest pain. I’d been seen and heard. I’d been experienced. And I received the experience of how my words touched the other women.
Being held in love offered me the gift of sharing the truth of my pain. In this month focused on thankfulness, I know more such moments will reveal themselves to me as I stay open to them. For this, I remain grateful.
A Moment of Reflection
- In the present moment of your life, what emotions do you hold simultaneously?
- Do you make space for the “ands” of what you’re feeling?
- Do you have a way to share what you’re feeling with those you trust?
I encourage you this month to allow yourself the space and grace to be with all of it. And to share what you’re feeling when and where you feel safe to do so. All of the challenges. All of the emotions. All of the pain. All of the joy. All of the gratitude. All of the aha moments. Raw, real, and revealed.
Above all else, I wish you abundant blessings on your continued life journey.