Gratitude and Grief
Gratitude then grief. Grief then gratitude. Which comes before the other? It seems these days the scales tip depending on the wind. 2017 has been a year of both for me. Grief AND gratitude.
Every year around Thanksgiving I write a blog about all of things in which I’m grateful for over the year. Making this list public, instead of having it exist solely in my journal, seems to honor the events and people that make my life so amazing in a special way.
As I take a deep breath in preparation for writing this year’s list – I’m not sure I have the ability to put it all into words. This year it’s hard. It’s been a big year for me. And for Brand Yourself. The year started off with the death of my dad. Well – maybe I should back up -- last November we lost my Grandma, then in January my dad passed away. They were very tight, those two, it’s only fitting that they would follow each other into the afterlife. We took a couple of trips to Texas to grieve and be with family, celebrating their lives and toasting to fun memories. Quickly after, we got word that our house here in Northfield had finally sold, so we (my hubby and 2 kids) moved in with my mom and stepdad for the summer while we built a new house. Brand Yourself gained (and then lost) a few employees and our World Headquarters moved! Our office is now located in downtown Northfield. Taking care of estates, experiencing new home construction, moving the family and business around town, and navigating grief has proven to be challenging yet FULL.
FULL of heartache and love, exhaustion and contentment, light and dark, and most of all – gratitude and grief.
As I reflect on 2017, and look forward to 2018, I will be forever grateful for:
- Space. Creating space for new friendships. Space in our new home. Brain space – space to think and be creative. Space occupied with all of those I love most.
- Teachers. I’ve learned a lot from many different people this year. I am currently enrolled in Meditation Teacher Training. I’ve learned a lot about Inbound Marketing. I learned from others who have navigated grief before me (thank you Crystal and Laura!!). I have a love of learning and am grateful for all of those willing to share their gifts with the world.
- Community. I find myself so grateful for all of the communities I get to play in. Our hockey families, our new neighborhood, the bookclubs I belong to, our long-time friends, our family, my Mastermind Group – all of these communities know different parts of me and fill my bucket in so many different ways. I’m excited to spend time with all of them for many years to come.
- Good people. My favorite humans. You all know who you are. I’m not sure how I would have made it through the year without all of you holding me up.
- Books. (Gah – again with the books!) I have built myself a library in my new house. I mean you guys, OF COURSE I love all the books! They provide escape, hope, time to reflect and learn. I can’t mention books this year without calling out one of the best – Brenè Brown’s Braving the Wilderness. This book (along with her others) will change many lives. I’m especially grateful for my friends who love to talk about books with me. All the books.
- Stories. I love telling a brand’s story. We do this in many ways. We do this visually with images and logos. We do this through websites, social media, and video. In a lot of my trainings over the last year or two, that has been everyone’s tip – tell your story. Story is what connect consumers to brands. Telling the story of the people behind the company has become one of my favorite things to do. I love telling the true, authentic story of all of these wonderful people and what their companies do.
- Kindness. Random acts of kindness are my favorite. This year, try to do something for someone without them knowing. It feels great.
The practice of gratitude is something I’m cultivating in myself and hopefully inspiring my family to do on a regular basis, too. Every night at dinner we go around the table and tell everyone a high for the day, a low for the day, and something we are grateful for. Even sharing about how grateful we are for Grandpa’s mashed potatoes is worth smiling about.
This year, I have heard over and over how shitty it has been for me. People notice the grief. I must wear a badge of it. Hopefully they will also see the gratitude I have too. Yes, plenty of unfortunate events happened this year but it was also a year of expansion. I expanded my beliefs, we built a new home for ourselves, I have more circles of friends, and am forever reminded of how short life can be. I am grateful for every moment.
Side note: The photo above was taken on my flight home from Texas just after my dad died. He loved to fly.