An excerpt from Catherine McNulty’s book, The Gifts of Grief.

I encourage you to be strong. Christina Rasmussen said, “Life after loss is choosing to start over when you would rather not.” I want to encourage you to stop hiding from the grief that has come to you. Hold on to my promise that gifts are coming into your life through this grieving process. Grief is not something you need to fall victim to and you don’t need to tell yourself that there is nothing you can do now. Take the time you need to grieve, but when you are ready, limit the amount of time you choose to suffer and dwell without support.

I understand that pain is something we want to run away from, but grief doesn’t work that way. The only way to ease the pain is to acknowledge it and go through it. The way to get through it is to face it no matter how painful and scary it is and choose not to isolate yourself. Be real and be honest while going through the process to embrace the gifts that grieving will present to you. Always remember that you are not alone. Know that I am here to embrace the pain with you. Eventually, things will shift for you and you will start to see more light than darkness. This is my promise to you.

There is hope so please hang on. You will be okay. I know what it’s like when it first happens, when everybody was there, and everybody showed up. People bring you cards, flowers, food and they were constantly asking you how you’re doing. Then, two or three months later, it’s like people have already forgotten what happened to you. They moved on and left you there alone in your pain and your grief. You wanted to move on too, but you woke up every day and you were reminded that this has happened to you. We convince ourselves that no one wants to hear about it anymore because they’ve heard enough when in fact, they just aren’t equipped and don’t know how to help. They don’t know what to do, or what to say, so they say nothing.

I remember feeling this way like it was only yesterday. I didn’t have anybody to tell me that it was going to get better, and that my life was actually in the process of being enriched by the pain. I want to be here to tell you that even though it feels like this is not going to end, things will get better eventually if you deal with them.

Brene Brown shares a quote that states, “Despair is believing that tomorrow is going to be filled with the same misery as today.” Don’t give in to despair. Get a journal for yourself. If you don’t like writing in a journal, you can sit with your thoughts and record them. Ask yourself how you feel and where you are today. Do this daily for a few days to really get in touch with where you are.

You may have had someone suggest meditation but haven’t tried it because you don’t really understand what meditation is and how it works. Again, it’s just education. In my opinion, it’s the best tool for grieving and it is available to all of us at no cost. Meditation is taking the time to observe rather than analyze where we are and what we’re thinking. When we analyze, we say to ourselves, “This is the way it’s supposed to be. This is the grieving timeline. These are the 5 stages of grief and I need to move on to the next stage.”

In contrast, when we give ourselves permission to observe, we can take a look at where we are today and accept that it’s okay. Maybe you are a little better than yesterday, or maybe today is a particularly challenging day. Sometimes you do feel a little better and sometimes you don’t want to get out of bed. That’s just the way it is and it is okay. Acknowledge and accept it. When we observe we can say, “This is what I’m feeling today and this is what I need today.” We observe it, we acknowledge it and with no judgment, we give ourselves permission for it to be okay at any given moment. Also, we tell ourselves that we ARE moving through the process. Actively seek the gifts that grieving is bringing to you. In time they will come.

You are not alone. You are going to get through it. You are going to be okay. For now, be gentle with yourself. Focus on the love that you have in your life. Embrace what you do have and be open to receiving more. Do not isolate yourself. Instead, use this time as an opportunity to create a new and enriched life that will honor the ones that you love. Remember that grieving is universal and it’s something that we all have to go through at some point in our lives. Know that I am here for you to help you through this process; so, you too can find your own gifts of grief.

As for me, my journey continues. I have learned to listen to my gut and to my heart. I give what I have learned and receive love from others. I seek inspiration and meaning to find my life’s purpose. I move toward meaning, one baby step at a time. My life is transformed because of my grief; my life is GRIEF INSPIRED.

I invite you to join my community and learn more at www.griefinspired.com

Catherine McNulty

Catherine McNulty

After losing her infant son in 2011, Catherine embarked on a journey to do more than survive grief. The loss forever changed the trajectory of her life and sent her looking for meaning and purpose for the life she was given. She channeled the love for her son into her own healing, self-growth and personal empowerment. Today, she has created a framework to grief that disrupts conventional ways of looking at loss. She challenges her clients to step outside of a victim mindset and regain control of how they navigate grief. She teaches how to grow through grief and encourages speaking openly about grief to break down the walls of silence around grief. Catherine lives in San Diego with her family where she speaks, writes, and offers coaching to those who want to do more than just survive grief. She is a board member of Empty Cradle and volunteers at Miracle Babies and the Ronald McDonald House. Her business, Grief INSPIRED supports those who are grieving and guides them to create a new normal that honors the ones they’ve lost.

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