Are there really any positives of grief? My Mum would always tell me to find a positive in a negative. ‘You will always find one if you look hard enough’ she would say to cheer me up on rubbish days.
And she was right, although I never expected I would have to search for those positives in her death.
Looking on the bright side of life is an affirmation that Mum planted in my mind from as young back as I can remember. It is something I always try to do, and it definitely does help me to cope better with any struggles I face.
Sometimes life throws you some pretty s**tty curveballs and they can completely and utterly floor you. During those times it can be unimaginable to look for the positive in the situation, but there will be always one.
After losing my Mum to cancer back in 2006, I was devastated. There were no positives for me amongst so much pain and heartache. I didn’t even bother looking for them at the time – Instead I just fell apart.
And so did my twenty year marriage.
Twelve months after losing Mum we reconciled and got our relationship back on track. We are now happier than we have ever been.
I can see the positives now in my grief but initially I couldn’t think about them. My whole world had just come crashing down, how could there be anything positive about that?
But there were positives and they were buried deep inside my grief. I just needed to give myself a little time. Of course I would swap those positives in a heartbeat to have Mum back, but that can never happen.
My Life Completely Changed
In a lot of ways my life changed for the better. A massive gaping wound had appeared, smack bang in the middle of it, and hurt like hell. I was angry, and sad and confused, but after a few months my Mums death had opened my eyes to what was really important to me. I could finally see the positives in grief.
Losing someone we adored tore me and my husband apart, but it also unified us as a couple. After a brief separation I knew exactly what was needed for us to work and that was to deal with our grief together, instead of battling against each other. To accept that life will never be the same was hard, but the change made me appreciative of what I had.
Things that once really bothered me – no longer mattered.
I began to see the beauty in life, love and nature. It sounds cheesy but I felt born again. My Mums words ringing in my ears, pushing me to search for the positives, I began to feel grateful for my life.
I was determined to enjoy living to the max. For me, living beside the sea helped with my healing and the being outdoors in nature.
Small things that once bothered me, no longer mattered. Material possessions had become less important and as I began to focus more on what I already had. I felt less anxiety. I no longer needed all the ‘things ‘ I craved before as a result, I felt so much more content with my life.
Life Is Precious… and very short!
Before Mums passing I had never really thought about my own mortality. Suddenly, I was struck by how precious and short life had become to me. My Mum was only 56 when she lost her brave battle with uterine cancer, and she had so much still to do. Her time unexpectedly run out. We assumed we had at least another thirty years left with her.
I questioned my own vulnerabilities and over time my walls began to come down. As a result I am a calmer person. I enjoy every day that I am blessed to be alive.
Sure, I still have anxieties and I definitely still struggle with the fact I am motherless. I miss her everyday and yearn to speak to her, but I am happier than I ever was before she passed away. I think that is because I witnessed with my own eyes the fragility of life.
I Make More Memories
This was a big one for me and it was the reason behind why I started blogging eleven years ago. I wanted to start keeping a record of my memories and in turn, blogging encouraged me to create more memories. I wanted new experiences to write about – as writing for me, had always been very cathartic.
I treasure every new memory now and I take more photos to make sure my children and grandchildren have them to look back on. These memories brought our family together and give us a stronger bond.
Grief Helped Me To Grow
My journey along the rocky road of grief most definitely helped me to grow as a person. I become more spiritual, more aware of the positives in my life and what route I wanted my life to take. I am stronger, more open to change and more eager to be happy.
Grief Forced me to question what happiness really meant and what it was to be successful in my life. As it turns out, the answers to those questions are not what I thought they would be.
If you are struggling to find the positives in grief, give yourself some time and eventually they will reveal themselves to you.
You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly-that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.