How to appreciate the gift of life while grieving

September 1, 2021

gift-of-lifeI had an amazing and inspirational conversation recently with a woman I know who lost her husband.

She is 85. He was almost 90.

Both were/are very with it. She works out daily at the gym. Both active in their faith community.

This was what she said to me, weeks after his death:

“I lost my sweetheart. But I feel so lucky and privileged because we got to grow old together.”

There’s no question it’s more difficult to reconcile a loss when our loved one is younger. But I was inspired by her perspective on her loss. Knowing her, I believe if they’d been younger she still would have felt lucky and privileged.

She has continued with her active life, even during the pandemic. It’s not to say she doesn’t grieve. Just that her continuing enjoyment of the gift of life is a view of death that I can only aspire to.

Death is the part of life we don’t want to think about. But as I age, I have come to believe it’s important to put it in perspective.

The people I love who have made their transitions definitely left a huge hole in my heart and my life. And yet, despite the pain of my loss, I am learning to make peace with it all. It’s not like we have a choice–everyone and everything dies.

What I loved about my friend’s outlook is that she sees this as part of life. A long life, to be sure, in her case.

I won’t say it’s easy. Or that I’m anything but a work in progress in dealing with death and loss. I’m still processing what it all means now that I can see it on the (far, I hope) horizon.

Here’s what else she said, wistfully:

“I talk to him. He hears me.”

If you believe life goes on, as I do, it’s only natural that so does your relationship with your loved one. Oh, there’s so much to unpack on this subject!

If you’ve lost a loved one or know someone who has, I hope you’ll consider our helpful tools for processing grief. Find them right here.

13 comments on “How to appreciate the gift of life while grieving
  1. Diane says:

    Inspiring, Carol! Death is such a part of living. And you are so right, we need to keep it in perspective. Be grateful for what we DO have! Thank you for this today!

  2. Today while driving to the podcasting studio, the song, “These 3 Words” by Stevie Wonder had me crying as I thought about my sister who was killed in a car accident 30 years ago this month. As hard as it is, grief is good because that meant she was a wonderful person in my life!

  3. Laurie Stone says:

    Somedays death hangs heavy over my shoulders, especially as I get older. And yet other days, it’s far off in the distance, something I accept more readily. I guess that’s part of life as we age.

  4. I think her outlook is a gift, one that can be cultivated for sure, but some people are naturals. I am doing my best to cultivate this one. Thanks for sharing.

  5. James Casper says:

    I lost my wife a few years ago. It’s so inspiring to be reminded that life goes on.

  6. Jane Carroll says:

    How beautiful your friend’s outlook is. And what a blessing to grow old with the one you love.

  7. Lauren says:

    Sadly death is a part of life. But as I get older the more it haunts me. I used to feel invincible, now I am just grateful.

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