The Gift Of Grief

I often write about how grief has changed me, how loss has heightened my sensitivity to my surroundings, to others, to life itself. It is never more apparent than when I listen to a meaningful song or see a beautiful landscape. I often think about how my awareness and perception has been altered, and how others may view or hear the very same things I do, yet the meaning is lost on them. Am I simply hypersensitive or are others missing it? In loss, do we become gifted with the ability to view the magic of the world and the meaning of life as it was created for us? In suffering do we become blessed with a softened heart?

In an interview with Anderson Cooper, Stephan Colbert said of grief, “I learned to love the thing that I most wish had not happened.” Colbert went on to say, “What punishment of the Gods are not gifts. It is a gift to exist and with existence comes suffering. There’s no escaping that.” Colbert spoke of the awareness of other people’s loss that enables you to connect with other people which allows you to then “love more deeply and to understand what it’s like to be a human being if it’s true that all humans suffer.”

Stephan Colbert expressed what most grievers have learned in their suffering, we become more alive after loss. We do become more sensitive to the suffering of others. In grief we begin to appreciate the gifts of life because a life was taken from us. I was blessed having my grandson Konnor in my life, he brought such joy and love into my life in the short time he was here. For everything that is beautiful and everything that is meaningful reminds me of him. I see Konnor in every beautiful image. I hear Konnor within the lyrics of a song, he is my melody. I think of Konnor when I hear about the death of a child. I will for the rest of my life take special meaning in everything I see, everything I hear and all that I do because I am free of the barriers that weighed me down. His death has opened my eyes to a world that would have otherwise been elusive. In Konnor’s death I have experienced a greater consciousness in life and increased feelings of empathy.

It is with the loss of my grandson that I awoke. It took a very long time for the ache to soften enough for me to acknowledge the lesson. That life is fragile. I now understand the significance of a moment. The weight of grief has lightened my load. I believe Konnor has taught me life lessons, not just in his time on earth but also in his death. I look up and see the angel shaped cloud and I smile for I have learned the importance of faith and to believe. I look around me and I see those I love in all our imperfections and I have learned acceptance. I struggle with the changes in my life but I have learned patience. I have suffered tremendous loss and I have learned gratitude.

In life, we tend to be in a hurry especially when we become responsible adults. We have goals we set for ourselves, we have obligations. We rush to get to work, we hurry to complete our errands and then we rush to get home. In searching to obtain these desires we lose the ability to “stop and smell the flowers.”  We become so distracted we deprive ourselves of the simple joys that are right in front of us. We have not learned how to take a breath and look at the glory of life. To just breathe.

Rather than practice gratitude we tend to unconsciously take things for granted. We do this until something happens that snaps us out of this daze of repetition. Maybe it’s an illness or injury, maybe it’s a sudden death. This is when we replay everything in our minds and we want a do-over. It is in the darkness of suffering we discover life. We understand the importance of family, a sunrise and simple pleasures. We realize we have been searching for something that was right in front of us all along...Life.

Grievers know that in an instant everything can be forever changed so we hug a little tighter and for a little longer. As Stephen Colbert said; “we understand what it is to be human.” It is indeed a gift. So we pause to smell that flower, we walk slower, we find meaning in the lyrics and we say “I love you.” We have realized the value of love and life.

There will continue to be days when little things become overwhelming and I drift between the beauty of this life and the tragedy of death. Yet I seem to find meaning in the simplest of things, even when I am not searching for it. I turn my thoughts to all that I have and those that I love, I sense his presence touching me like a warm breeze. Konnor will for the rest of my life, be the reason for my happiness and my greatest sorrow.

“Oh, what a world, don’t wanna leave
All kinds of magic all around us, it’s hard to believe
Thank God it’s not too good to be true
Oh, what a world, and then there is you”
~ Kasey Musgraves – “Oh, What A World”

 

 

 

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Grieving Grandmother to Konnor Mason who passed suddenly at eight years old on November 22, 2015. With this blog I hope to share my thoughts and feelings as I move forward through grief toward hope and healing.

2 thoughts on “The Gift Of Grief

  1. Patricia…I am moved beyond words by YOUR brilliant, vulnerable, compassionate and ever so wise “counseling” in your sharing of grief over the loss of your beloved Konner. As a single mother for 20 yrs of 2 fabulous children born 12 mos apart (1987 & 1988), we lost the oldest, a boy, @ 26 to a tragic boating accident involving no fault of his own. His 25 yr old sister was getting married 59 days later on the coast of CA in a destination wedding. I survived His funeral (2000+ people) and my daughter’s extraordinary wedding on the water. My friends took me to Venice, Italy 2 wks after the wedding – where as fate would have it I was also in a boating accident on an island off the coast of the Adriatic Sea – incurring a fractured hip/torn greater trochanter and worse, a moderately severe head injury/TBI … LOC >30 mins. I was medi-vac’ed by the Italian Coast Guard to a trauma center in Venice and then to the US when stabilized. After gratefully eventually recovering from those injuries, in July of 2017 I was stopped on the interstate for an accident 8 hrs from home when a teenager texting hit me @ 70 mph, knocking me into 3 other cars, totally all 5 cars. This TBI was not as serious IMO but did involve LOC <30 min and I believe ongoing damage (2 yrs after this last one I am still trying to tease out just how much “capacity” I have left…LOL!) The 2nd accident also fractured my sternum via the seatbelt. I am a child of immigrants and have buried my parents and only sibling (younger) in this country – so that left only me and my daughter. Gratefully she married a lovely young man and they now have a gorgeous, healthy 14 mo old son. The greatest tragedy of all for me has been, for reasons I cannot explain (the Grief, my head injuries, distance between us as the kids have been in MN the last 3 yrs, my isolation in trying to protect my daughter from my own grief and injuries … she has a huge job as a chemical engineer, had a hard time getting pregnant and difficult birth, etc), I have virtually lost her too. I can literally do nothing right w/her and ever since the day we found out she was pregnant 23 mos ago (she had gone off of all ADHD and anti-depressant meds after being stable for 20 yrs – she has done brilliantly but I just wanted to give you an idea of all SHE has accomplished). At any rate, I have just totally stepped back to protect myself from what I perceive to be vitriolic attacks wherein the common theme is “everything that is wrong w/ME”. We will, I pray, eventually work thru all this for the sake of that gorgeous baby boy – if and when she agrees she WANTS to work it out w/ professional help (so far no luck). It clearly is NOT ABOUT HER – it is the GRIEF – posts like yours above give me ongoing HOPE and INSPIRATION to try and hang on. Thank you for your strength, your compassion, and most of all your brilliant medical expertise/training that allows you to combine your training w/ your heart and your voracious love of KONNER to lead the rest of us who are not quite there yet…❤️😇🥳 Godspeed and blessings yo you and your extraordinary family Patricia – especially your precious daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry for the loss of your son. In reading your story I must believe there is a reason for you to be here. Perhaps your son is your guardian angel, protecting you, letting you know that it is not your time. I hope you are recovering in health as well as your in your heart. I thank you for your story as well, it touched me as I truly can understand how grief effects us. You have strength you had not known in just moving forward after loss and your injuries. My best to you. 💕

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