Yesterday, in the UK, it was Father’s Day. This day happened to coincide this year with Summer Solstice. It was a beautiful sunny day, balancing perfectly the day before which was grey, windy and rainy. The weather seemed to reflect the activities that were taking place.
On Saturday, I was teaching midwives, as I often do. Sharing my story of loss, spending the day amongst grief and death. On Sunday, we spent time together, in the sunshine, celebrating long days.
I caught myself smiling, completely and utterly at peace. It comes as a surprise still. In a little over 1 month’s time I will have been living with loss for 6 years. In the early days I worked hard to find a sense of peace, I sometimes achieved it. Now, it appears that peace, happiness, a quiet sense of contentment, finds me more frequently.
I am more easily to recognise my thankfulness, my gratitude. Sitting in the sunshine, watching my beautiful rainbow play in the water, I wasn’t thinking of Finley. But as my daughter came to grab me to send rose petals down the stream, I recognised his gifts. We sent each petal, with our thanks.
I said thank you for the garden … I discovered this place of peace after Finley died, I have cried my tears into the stream, begged the statues for a new baby, stood barefoot looking at the wind blowing the leaves in the branches above my head.
I said thank you for my daughter … who maybe wouldn’t have been here had life played out in a different way.
I said thank you for my husband … who helped bring Finley into this world, has been touched and changed by him, but remains able to make me laugh.
I said thank you for the joy I get from being in nature … which became important to me in my early days of healing.
Such a simple act, a sharing of joy with my daughter which perhaps I would never have appreciated so deeply without the knowledge my son left behind. It was also a great moment to pause, to reflect, to see the baby growing into a beautiful young girl.
Time passes so quickly, that gratitude feels like a way to slow it down. To spot those beautiful moments and cling on to them, before time takes them away.
Sometimes we take things for granted, sometimes we find it hard to see the blessings in our life, because the darkness is so great. But gratitude is a skill which can be learnt, practiced and built upon. To begin with maybe it feels hard to find something to be thankful for, but once you start to look for these things, it seems easier to notice them. Perhaps you’d like to try…
Creating a Joy Jar – decorate a glass jar beautifully and each day write a note of something beautiful that happened that day, or something you are grateful for. It’s lovely to look back on them at the end of the year.
A Notebook – at the end of each day, jot down 3 things you are grateful for.
Try something new each week – when we are grieving, life can become quite isolating. It’s a struggle to get through the days. Making a commitment to try new experiences out, even small ones like having a massage, dying your hair, going to the nature reserve, can help bring new things to be thankful for.
What are you grateful for in your life?