And sometimes it’s a painful journey.

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I was feeling really sad about all the unique mommy/daughter experiences I would miss out on. So, as usual, I shared my grief on social media. And, as usual, many wonderful souls stepped up and comforted me.

All but one.

He lost his young son to drowning not long after Hannah died from suicide. I’ve always admired him. He’s strong and wise. So when I read his comment, I lost my breath. What did he say? Here, read it for yourself.

At a family reunion this week, one of my cousins has a 7 year old boy named Crew. I see how much fun they are having with him and I eat my heart out with jealousy. It Just hurts.

~Aaron Gabrielson

Did you find it? Are you with me yet? I’ll tell you. It was the word ‘jealousy’. It was a knife through my heart.

I’ve come to realize when I feel defensive, it’s an invitation for me to stop, look, and listen. I took a deep dive into what I was thinking and feeling.

“I’m not jealous!” I proudly thought. “Why would he even bring that word into this. I don’t get jealous!” “This is GRIEF!”

When I was 16, I had an epiphany that was so powerful it changed my life. Sixteen was a very long time ago yet I remember it like it was yesterday. I realized jealousy was a slap in God’s face. It was me saying to me that what I was wasn’t good enough. I wanted what someone else was or had. It was in direct opposition to gratitude.

That doesn’t mean I don’t admire traits about people or that I don’t want aspects of me to change. However, those are not spurred by jealousy.

It’s been so long since I felt jealous or so I thought. I honestly had no idea what it felt like….until he wrote those words. I really had to get quiet and allow the truth to talk to me.

Was I jealous of the moms that would accompany their daughters through birth? Was I jealous of moms who would help plan their daughter’s wedding? That’s exactly what I was feeling only with an added dose of intense grief.

I’m not being hard on myself. I promise. I embrace my grief. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

I started to realize that in my grief I was, in fact, jealous, hurt that I didn’t get to experience what other moms did or would someday. When I’m believing the thoughts that I won’t get to do certain activities, I see myself as “less than”, not good enough, unworthy, unwanted. It’s a very hurtful way to see myself and to view life.

So what is a grieving mom to do?

I have choices. I’ve said a million times that the truth sets me free from pain and misery. What’s the truth here? My goal is peace and joy and I’m certainly not feeling peace or joy.

Then it hit me, GRATITUDE!

Gratitude is the opposite of jealousy. So, I tried it on to see if it worked. I thought about my beautiful grandchildren that are coming and the one that’s already here. I thought about how incredibly grateful I am that Hannah’s friends are thriving despite tragedy. I’m grateful their parents share their joys with me; their accomplishments, marriages, goals, ups, and downs. I’m grateful I have two sons with loving wives. I’m grateful for my husband and our relationship. I’m grateful for healing. I’m grateful for family and friends. I’m grateful that I know Hannah is still alive. I’m glad that I know I’ll hold her again some day.

All I had to do was think about a few of the things I’m grateful for and like magic I wasn’t sad anymore!

Let’s be clear here. This pain, this story of loss is so big in my head and heart that one moment of gratitude, one moment of processing doesn’t make it ALL better. I have to practice gratitude over and over again. When these painful thoughts come up, I meet them with kindness allowing them a voice. Then, I start looking for those things which are true. When I find things that are grounded in reality and are true, peace meets me….every single time.

There’s a lot of talk about magic these days. A lot of imposters floating about. The real magic is in Truth. Truth lets me fly, slays the monsters, heals wounds. Truth is the only magic I believe in. I am grateful for Truth! And today, Truth graced me with the power of gratitude. Once again, the Truth sets me free.

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