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Grief, Joy and Gratitude Can and Do Co-exist

Peggy Green - Thee Grief Specialist
Written by Peggy Green Thee Grief Specialist

August 9 is my first child’s birthday. She would have been 31 years old this year. I took her picture off the top of my desk where it was so carefully placed years ago. The frame is oval with gold and silver trim. As I looked at it, so many memories came flooding in. Her fuzzy blonde hair stood on end and her deep blue eyes stared back at me. I found myself studying her just like when she was a new-born.
The dress she wore for the picture was about 2 sizes too big. It was a gift from my sister for the occasion and I loved it. Too big or not, she was wearing it.
Oh, the joy I felt for being her mom and having her in my life. She was such a blessing. I also recalled the grief.
I remember her funeral. As a family, we sat in an area set to the side from the rest of those attending the funeral. We were isolated so no one could see us. After the service, I had one last opportunity to hold my dear, wonderful girl. She was only 9 months old. I did not want to put her back down. Others were waiting and the funeral procession was waiting on us – no, not us, me. I put her back in her forever bed and was escorted to the car.
It has been years since I relived those memories. I understand why I did. It was to prepare me to put myself in the shoes of another mom.
As a podcast guest, I send a thank you note to my hosts along with a copy of my book, Life After Child Loss: The Mother’s Survival Guide to Cope and Find Joy. The day after my daughter’s birthday, I received this note:
“ Our engagement (podcast recording) has recently served as a remarkable reminder that we always have what we need when we need it. Just before I left to visit my family, I received your book and I forgot to bring it with me. A couple of days after we returned, 3 of my sisters’ children were killed in a car accident. I grabbed your book as we hustled out the door to be with family during the difficult first days. Thank you for your generosity and for being part of the support my family and I need now”. Mary M-G
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be there. The discussion on her podcast was appropriate for what she would soon experience.
I am thankful she received my book. I ask my hosts after they read the book to pass it on to those in need. Instead, she was able to use it for her own families need.
I also felt a deep, deep sense of loss and grief for her family. I know what it is like to make arrangements for one child, let alone three. My heart hurt for them. My breath was taken away and I shed tears for her family. I stopped what I was doing and prayed for everyone impacted by this enormous loss.
In a matter of 24 hours, I was once again reminded that grief, joy, and gratitude can and does co-exist.
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