Grief, Guilt and Gratitude

Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory

This past fortnight (really, only a fortnight? It feels like a year), I  found gratitude hard to swallow. Grief for my brother was all consuming, and any efforts to be grateful were kicked in the guts and left in the gutter. Sure, I felt a hollow gratitude, for family, friends, flowers. But it all felt pretty meaningless. None of it changed the fact that Ryan is gone, that his kids don’t have a Dad any more.

Grief  has been like a dog on a lead, permanently tied to my wrist, following me everywhere. Sometimes it would swallow me whole, from out of nowhere, with one big bite, and I’d be drowning in darkness and tears and feeling nausea and pain. Real pain. I never knew that before. Grief physically hurts.

It still hurts. It still sneaks up on me. But now there are little fragments of light, piercing the dark.

But you know what comes with that? Guilt. Surely I shouldn’t be feeling happy? Surely I shouldn’t laugh? Surely I shouldn’t find enjoyment in anything, not when Ryan is gone.

I tell myself, and my family and our friends, that no, it’s not wrong to laugh. Ryan wouldn’t want us all to be permanently morose. There is no right way to grieve. Cry when you’re sad. Laugh when you’re happy. Punch things (preferably soft cushions and not people) when you need to. And find light in gratitude.

Now, in this moment, I’m deeply grateful for:

♥ my family. We’re all leaning on each other and it warms my heart to see how we are trying to protect and care for each other.

♥ my friends. They have been quick to envelop me in support and love. I’ve been completely blown away by their support.

♥ my children. Pebble and Rocky have been like my little security blanket during the past fortnight. The thought of them, the feel of them, the smell of them. Their laughter and silliness, their cries of need that remind me that I need to keep being  mum.

♥ my husband. Oh, my husband. He’s been simply amazing. Always one step ahead, thinking of what I might need. Being mum and dad for the kids, while I wandered, numb and empty. I simply could not have gotten through any of this without him by my side.

♥ my MIL, SIL and niece, who have all helped to care for our babies while we’ve been here and there, mourning, grieving, supporting.

♥ new babies. My newest little nephew arrived in the world and brought with him real smiles and joy amongst all the sadness.

♥ healthy babes. Our little Rocky has been giving us some trouble, we thought he might need an operation on his testicles and our GP suspected a heart murmur. BUT a visit to the paediatrician gave us the all clear on both. Phew! I’m SO grateful for that.

♥ funeral services. It feels strange to be grateful for this, but it did help me to let it all out and to get a little bit of closure. The funeral home was so caring, understanding and thoughtful. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful and heartfelt farewell to our Ryan.

♥ kind words.

♥ warm hugs.

♥ pretty flowers.

♥ sunshine on my face and grass on  my back.

♥ buttered toast.

♥ sugary tea.

♥ soft tissues.

27 Replies to “Grief, Guilt and Gratitude”

  1. Right now I’m grateful for people with the courage to express themselves with such beautiful and honest simplicity. It’s inspiring Kylie, and it helps. Love love love xxxxxxx

  2. I completely understand how you feel Kylie. While I didn’t lose a brother, I lost my Dad and there are days now when I feel guilty for enjoying life knowing he’s not here to enjoy it with us. And for a long time I found it hard to be grateful or be positive. This is normal for people grieving someone they love, give it time and the days will become a little easier. I’m sorry for your loss, but glad you have some special people in your life looking after you. xx

    1. Thank you for sharing your grief with me Julie. I’m in awe that so many go through this every day. I know that death is a part of life, but it’s just so incredibly painful to lose someone too soon. I’m so sorry to hear about your Dad, Hugs to you x

  3. I am grateful for pure and simple joy roses are giving me atm. I can take my camera off them lol. The perfection of them in everyone just gives me a grounded sense that all is well :) Have a wonderful day :)

  4. A death is. A time of sorrow, I send you my love! There are all kinds of dying I have sustained a spinal cord injury and have had to die to parts of my body _ but I am grateful to god, family’. And friends” and all the joys of life ! Hugs!!
    Love, pat

  5. Thank you for sharing.. Yes, it is a kick in the gut. But, yes again, there is still always something to be thankful for. I lost my son recently and every word you said is so true. I find myself screaming at the firewood that won’t stay on the cart or fluffing the pillows a little too hard.. But even those little things seem to go a long way in dealing with the grief. I have always thought the words PROFOUND GRIEF in a novel to be just a little much for the story but since knowing that kind of grief I think, hey, maybe it did fit the story…. I found comfort in your words and appreciate your honesty. Love and hugs for a much happier future..

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m a lot further down the grief pathway now, it’s a very strange trip, I’ll say that. I can’t even imagine losing a child. I hope you have the support around you that you need, don’t be afraid to reach out to others xx Be kind to yourself, take your time.

      1. Thank you. Yes, I have a HUGE support team; My husband and daughters, my mother and mother in law… the list goes on and on.. But mostly Grace. We walk in Grace every day.

    2. I lost my son & my grief is overwhelming, the anxiety & sadness take hold of me every day I pray to God to please help me & my daughters

  6. It will be a year this month I lost my dear loving father. I miss him everyday. In his loss it brought our family briefly together. How wonderful it was. Only now some of us are even further apart than before. I miss him and I miss my family. Loss is a terrible thing. I am very thankful for my girls and husband. Without them I could not see my way through. Praying for light out of the darkness.

  7. It is very comforting to hear different experiences from people hwo seemingly lost someone dear and find their own journey of grieving ,actually develop a deeper sensitivity and understanding in many aspects.Over 12 years I had my Husband also to ascend to the spirit realm,I developed a deeper gratitude for God and the way He prepeared me for this event.I only found out later.My tears of grief turned into Joy that I discovered God`s nature on a deeper level.Even the nature (a little bird)I felt – it brought a serious message to me but at the same time comfort and love,I actually expressed it to the little Bird.It is good to keep our mind and heart open for this deep experiences,the living God will speak in many ways to us and keep us in his loving embrace always.Honestly we may be able to comfort even God for His deep compassionate Heart to reach out to us even when we are not aware of it.That`s the true parental Heart we all inherited from God as well.Our original true nature!
    Be well always- allowing ourselves to support each other in our Healing process!

  8. This is such a great post. I like that you highlighted that there is no right or wrong way to grieve. That is so important to remember. I agree with what many other people had to say: the honesty shines through and makes the post so relatable.

    P.S. I love the Dr. Suess quote you chose. :)

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