You are losing your loved one right before your eyes and each day is a constant battle between grieving that loss and trying to cherish the time you have left with your loved one.
I get it. I’ve been there.
When people ask me how I dealt with the pain of slowly losing my mom, I don’t really know what to say. I just dealt with it.
I felt the pain. I walked through it rather than around it. I sat in it rather than avoiding it. I wrote about it rather than pretending it didn’t exist. I processed and analyzed my feelings rather than push them away.
But I also tried not to let the grief fill every crevice of my heart.
I looked for things to be grateful for. I made lists of those things on my phone or in my head. And I didn’t just do it on the days that were abundantly full of goodness.
I actually did it more on the days that were bad. The days that seemed void of anything even remotely resembling joy. That is until I sat down to make my list and realized I couldn’t stop at just one, two, or even three things.
You shouldn’t numb yourself to the pain of this experience, but you shouldn’t submerse yourself in it either.
I have found that this journey requires a delicate balance of grief and gratitude.
You can’t have all of one and none of the other.
You need the grief to be grateful for what you still have and you need the gratitude to get through the grief.
And you will get through it. You might not know how, but you will. I promise.
The downside is that you have to actually go through it first. There’s no way around it. There’s no way to avoid it.
Well, you might be able to avoid it for a little while, but it will always be there waiting for you. And if you try to numb yourself from the pain’s existence, then you will also numb yourself from the joy.
You have to find a grief/gratitude balance. Write down one thing you are grieving today, but then write down three things you are grateful for.
We all know the grief is heavier than the gratitude. Do your best to outweigh the grief by finding more gratitude. Or at least try to balance the scales.
This is hard. It’s really freaking hard. Believe me, I know. It’s ok to acknowledge how much this sucks, how much it hurts.
But also know that every ounce of pain and grief is only making you stronger. Every ounce of pain and grief is teaching you something. It’s forcing you to grow.
You are becoming a bigger, better person. You are rounding out and becoming more whole.
Your heart will become equal parts grief and gratitude.
I can’t think of anything more beautifully human than that.