Not So Grateful

I was trying to focus on gratitude.

It felt like a losing battle.  I just couldn’t get beyond the emotions that were raging.

The expectation during the week of Thanksgiving is that we are overwhelmed by gratitude, but it all felt false.

Every email I got spelled it out, every Facebook post described it.  They all talked about how life is abundant, we are all so blessed and thank you.  And try as I did, I just couldn’t feel it.  I tried to write my weekly post, I was blank.  I dug deep and observed the true blessings in my life, but it didn’t help.  I was feeling not so grateful.

This morning, my little boy woke up crying.  He said “I dreamt a miracle happened, that Poppy is still alive.”  One of my other boys heard him and started crying too.  It’s been a tough week; a week since our adorable, precious dog died.  We’re still trying to get used to it.

As I look back on this difficult, sad week, I realize despite the pain, I AM grateful, so incredibly grateful.  It’s not a list that I would have expected to come up with 2 weeks ago, but it’s true for me today.  Maybe it will resonate with you too!

I am grateful for:

–          my children that remind me that life goes on

–          the beach ten minutes from our home where my two oldest boys and I soothed our hearts and souls as we began to come to terms with what had happened

–          our neighbors and friends that commiserated and shared stories of their beloved family members and pets who had left them

–          the outpouring of love and support from Facebook friends that was surprisingly comforting

–          my partner who helped me take care of the details and is always there to hold whomever needs to be held

–          my family who are so supportive

–          my coach who, in those moments of wondering why I was so deeply sad, said “Lisa, love is love”

Above all I am so grateful for our daily 6am walks that became my meditation/prayer time for the last 18 months.  And the evening walks that gave me so much space and perspective.

I have been thinking of all the wonderful stories I tell and have told about loss and grief; I’ve been sharing them with my kids all week.  They are soothing and helpful.  I also realize that there is not a soul on earth that has not experienced loss.  It is a part of life.

One of my boys said, “Now I know what it means to lose a friend”.  My heart went out to him with the desire to protect him from further pain.  But I know it’s futile.  This is life.

Another of my boys said, “I don’t want another dog, I don’t want to ever go through this again”, and I gently explained that this is one of THE philosophical questions in life.  Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

We will probably get another dog.  We need some time to recover first.

In the meantime, I’m deeply moved by this list of gratitude.  Would you share one thing you are grateful for too?  Please add your comment below.

Share on...

48 comments on “Not So Grateful

  1. I am grateful for the connective emotional tissue that binds us all together in the experience of being human…no matter where we call home.

  2. I am grateful for your candor this morning! As a coach myself with a unique approach to assisting clients.
    to relearn how to respond to each moment fully present one of the issues that comes up most is my process.
    is the various perceptions and emotional energy that is held in the body and not completed from past.
    painful life experiences and the misperception that one needs to silently fix it, move through it.
    or deal with it alone. Also having a coaches real life many tragedies stories and the wisdom attained from them it is in the truth of our human shared experiences that we learn to heal and bond in truth and.
    prevent coping strategies that lead to unhealthy choices.
    Life isn't always pretty and tied up in a box and the next present or avoidant activity simply prolongs.
    the natural processing of a loss. It is the learning to move through with grace honesty and dignity that teaches us how to live authentically as human beings.
    I am grateful for many things this day and you are at the top of my list.
    Your children are blessed to experience life through who you are.
    Maureen Sherman

  3. Hello Lisa and THANK YOU for your courageous and sincere message! I have just written and published a children’s book featuring messages of love, trust and mainly Gratitude which I would like to send to you for your children. Please let me have your address. It’s called “Welcome, Tommy Toad” and is delightful true story about a toad who comes to live in our dog’s water bowl. It is written in his memory for all the love and loyalty he gave us! With love, light and blessings. Joy

  4. I am so grateful for your stories showing up in my in-box that move my heart and soul,
    for my yoga class, for the cup of coffee I am drinking right now and that even though my.
    bank account was overdrawn this morning, I have money in savings to transfer into it.

  5. Thank you for your moving “thank you” reflection, Lisa.

    I too experience an emotionally debilitating loss recently, actually two. One, my mother, six years ago, then my canine trail-hiking amigo and unconditional “pal” just four years back now. I still dream of both occasionally at night, but it’s not the same as having them in my life every day.

    I am thankful today for having stumbled upon your “Story Coach” web site two weeks ago, Lisa, and this International network of writers. As age progresses (“swimming upstream” being pointless, especially where the current is swift) and my list of true friends grows ever-shorter (bonds weakening as we drift apart in the “frog-water”), the gift of encountering this rich community of souls promises hope and connection with every “corner of the globe” (and since when did a sphere have “corners” anyway?).

    Thank you.

  6. Beautifully written Lisa – so moving.
    I wish you peace at heart.
    I feel grateful for so many things, however right at this moment my 14 year old lab, Sam.

  7. Hello. Thank you for all the stories that I have been reading so far. Being in Portugal, one of my tough jobs has been working trough the so called crisis, and all of it’s implications. I am thankfull for that oportunity and sometimes being able to make a difference. Thankfull for the good health of my loved ones!

  8. Yep, I know how it goes. If your not feeling it, you can’t fake it…but if you wait long enough, that you feeling you are “supposed” to have usually shows up 🙂

    So sorry about your pup…I was just thinking this weekend how completely devastated I would be if I lost my little guy.

  9. Lisa – I can so relate to your story. I am so grateful for my yellow lab Buddy. We got him almost exactly 7 years ago. We had recently lost 3 dogs in the prior 18 months!! They had all been great dogs- The first had a bone cancer so we got a ” replacement dog” while she was still alive. After she died our original dog died of old age and then 6 weeks later we were shocked when our ” replacement” beautiful chocolate lab died suddenly of aggressive cancer . We were devastated. We did not want to love and lose again…. but the silence when we came home was deafening ( even with 4 kids) and we did and it was the BEST decision ever!! Everyone who meets our Buddy says that he is the best dog they have ever met and we would have to agree. We have had him for 7 years and he was 2 when we ” rescued him. I hug and kiss him everyone day and tell him how grateful I am that he came into our life.

    My heart goes out to you and your family Lisa. Know that time heals and it is accelerated by gratitude and our pets live on in our hearts forever. 🙂

    Be Good For You,

  10. It is the Mormon belief that all dogs go to heaven — and every other animal as well. I attended a lecture on that subject at Brigham Young University when I was a reporter for the Deseret News a few years ago. If you're interested, I'll see if I can dig up the story I did.

    So what is this thing we call death? It is the separation of the spirit from the body. God created
    the spirit and everything He creates lives forever (as He does) because His divinity is in it. So the spirit lives on, whether it be animal or human, waiting for the reuniting with an immortal body as evidenced by the resurrection of Christ. "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. 15:22 ) This is a beautiful doctrine. I'm grateful for it. Your little boy was right about his dream.

  11. This is beautiful, Lisa. My heart goes out to you. We lost our Toby dog 5 years ago and I still think about him so often. He is with us forever, even after his physical departure. I am grateful for my boys who stop time and bring me right into the moment. It's the little things that are the big things. The conversations that happen out of nowhere, the unexpected hug, the smile that melts your heart, the sound of laughter, the quiet, still moment close to a loved one…that's the good stuff. Thank you for your post. Have a magical day!

  12. I am grateful for my friends and for the opportunity to be able to visit them – even it takes 14 hours by airplane. As well as for the possibility to sit here and to be able think about that question.

  13. I’m grateful – that no matter how bad things seem; when I hit a wall & lose all my energy; when my losses seem greater than my positives; when I’m overwhelmed & saddened by loss; somewhere – deep inside me – I still know, that I am very blessed. What the universe has provided, somehow at some point, does become what I needed and it is all moving me forward, in the direction where I need to be.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your beloved dog. During the past 30 years, I’ve shared my life with 7 wonderful, furry beings and currently, #8, my shepherd rescue, Lola. Each had their own lessons to share and each has left their unique imprint on my heart. Each passing brings sorrow, but the loving memories eventually replace the feeling of loss. May that also be true for you and your family

  14. Dear Lisa,
    Your post tugged at my heart. I grew up with cats and a fear of dogs until I met my husband and his family. Through them, I got over my fear and for the first time experiences what I've always heard – dogs are different! They become part of the family in a unique way from other pets. When I had my first miscarriage, we "borrowed" my brother-in-laws dog for the week because my husband had to work. As I laid on the floor trying to recover in enormous physical and emotional pain. That beloved dog, Spike, laid right along side me and never left my side. He knew something was wrong and brought me great comfort. Shortly after, we brought home my first dog – Colby. A butterball 6 week old yellow lab. He helped me get past the pain by allowing me to pour love into him and giving me even more in return. As we finally had 2 little boys – he would let them lay all over him, sit on him, poke him (as babies and toddlers do) and cuddle with him. We lost him suddenly just before Christmas 2010. I still can cry unexpectedly, as just recently, unpacking the Halloween decorations and holding his Halloween collar in my hands, the tears started flowing again.

    I am grateful that I shared Colby's life (and Spike) while they were here. They taught me that animals can have unconditional love and bring great comfort and joy. The pain lessens in time. Give yourselves time to heal, remembering the blessings and happy, funny memories that will stay with you always!

    • I loved that first winter you had Colby, when you made 2 snowmen.. and a snowdog!! Indy and Colby had a great time here together and went to heaven together too, within 2 weeks, I am sure they are still playing chase!! Love and miss you!!

    • Thanks for your beautiful past Christine…dogs always seem to know who’s hurting so they can stand right by!best wishes, Lisa

  15. Loss is always difficult to cope with… who ever you loose doesn’t make a big difference.
    And learn to deal with it, learn to live with it makes us even wiser! Thank you for sharing it Lisa.
    I am really grateful that I chose to be a coach and started sharing more….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *