Gratitude and Grieving

Most of us have grieved for someone or something at one point or another.

As we round a year since the pandemic began, many of us are beginning to reach anniversaries of the deaths of our loved ones.  The whole world is in a state of grieving for various things:  People we loved who have passed, our inability to see friends and family who are alive and to spend important holidays together, our abilities to go out and socialize, loss of jobs…..there is a lot to grieve these days.

March 19th will be one year since the death of my very best friend in the whole world, Aimee Gray.  Aimee had Congestive Heart Failure and was waiting for a transplant, but she just ran out of time.

Although I have before grieved the losses of grandparents, an uncle and a beloved cousin, this has been the first time I’ve ever grieved someone who I was so incredibly close to.  We were sisters and spent a vast majority of our time talking, texting, or hanging out together.  So this was a brand-new learning experience for me.

And it has been incredibly difficult.

I’ve gone through the stages of grief that I learned about:

  • denial.
  • anger.
  • bargaining.
  • depression.
  • acceptance.

And I’ve done them repeatedly over the year, with different stages popping up at various times.  Perhaps I always will.

I had been told by many that the year anniversary hits you hard.  I never understood why, but I will confirm that this is true…at least it is for me.  I feel like this first year has been all about me moving forward but, at times, feeling like I’m just treading water to stay afloat.  When someone is so deeply entrenched in your life, the loss feels devastating and you cannot believe it’s possible to go on without them.

But I have.  I’m doing well, am happy in my work and with my family, and am doing things I’m very proud of.

So now that I’ve proven that I can and have lived without Aimee for a year, this new stage I’m going through  is one of sadness….sadness that I even HAVE to live without her in the first place.  She was only 47 years old….this shouldn’t have happened!

But on the flipside, my daily commitment to living a life of GRATITUDE is what has gotten me through the grief and allowed me to move forward during this past year.

Don’t get me wrong, there is not an ounce of me that is GRATEFUL that Aimee passed.  But there are things that I am GRATEFUL for in relation to her death:

  • When she passed, COVID-19 was brand-new to all of us.  As she couldn’t stay out of the hospital in the end, there was no doubt that if she’d lived, she would have gotten the virus and most certainly wouldn’t have survived.  I’m GRATEFUL that she didn’t have to deal with that along with all of her other broken body parts.
  • Aimee loved adventures!  It would have driven her insane to stay home!!
  • I’m GRATEFUL that Aimee’s son, David and his fiancée swooped in to take care of Aimee’s 5-year-old granddaughter who she raised.  I KNOW that Aimee is touched by this and it makes my heart so happy!
  • I’m GRATEFUL that I was given the gift of our friendship.  Although it was only for a few years, it felt like we’d known each other all of our lives.  I could be upset that I didn’t have her longer, but I really am just so GRATEFUL that I had her at all.
  • I’m GRATEFUL for the gifts that Aimee gave me in my life……and I’m not talking about material things.  Aimee taught me how to live like I was dying, and that is a gift like no other.  I carry on with that gift in my heart and will for the rest of my life.

Circumstances happen in our lives that we have no control over.  If life was always at a happy and steady status quo, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the good stuff as much as we do.  When we live through trauma and loss, we are fully able to embrace GRATITUDE for the beautiful gifts that come our way.  Especially the small stuff…’s the small stuff that matters the most.

Hang in there, my friends!  Be GRATEFUL for the good things that have come your way throughout this pandemic.  There are blessings hidden in every situation although it can be difficult to see them at the time.

But if we live like we are dying and with an attitude of GRATITUDE, we’ll be well-suited to have lives of JOY and fulfillment.

Besides, there are people you haven’t met yet whose lives you are meant to touch.

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Lauren, this is Beautiful!! Thank you so much. I lost my very best friend we were 21 years old, I have never recovered from losing her, but like you said, I’m so glad for the short time I had her in my life. I look forward some day to Stella and I flying around the universe laughing and having fun on our adventures!!! God Bless you Always!! Much love Karen❤️🕊❤️🕊❤️🕊❤️🕊❤️🕊❤️

Deanna Wrate

Lauren, I am so sorry for your loss. Sometimes best friends and fur-babies losses are harder even then family losses. I have experienced both.
I feel happy for you that gratitude was able to be your safety net. There is no timeliness on grief. Stay kind to yourself and continue to be the lovely, inspiration you are.
Wishing you many blessing. ❤🤗