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Grief and gratitude: What's the connection?

It has been a while since my last post.

 I don't know how many times I and other bloggers have likely used this opening. But as boring and cliche as those words are, there is hope within this opening line.

Hope.

I haven't written because I haven't needed to like I have in the past to release the overwhelming whirlpool of emotions splashing out of me with nowhere to go but into words on a page. Journaling has always been a wonderful tool for me when I am experiencing intense feelings or untamed stress.

In fact my lack of posts is because I have been preoccupied with life. A life I want to live despite losing one of my greatest gifts in my life, my son Xavier.

But in the last month, I have experienced joy and the gifts my precious son left here for me. I would give anything and everything to have him here with me, but having accepted the reality that is just not possible, I now choose to focus on the positives this experience has brought to my life.

I have started a new job - one I never would have expected or even appreciated had it not been for Xavier. I am so blessed. Every day I can honour my son and feel like I am helping others who are on a journey with a brain tumour. How perfect God's plan was to lead me to this perfect position where I can use my talents as a writer and the love deep within my bleeding heart.

I am so thankful.

Each night I thank God for this beautiful life I have been given. As I still grieve and long for my precious boy, I have an incredibly warm feeling spread from deep within me and pour out with tears of gratitude. In my mind it makes no sense. Why am I so grateful when I had to watch my poor boy suffer through so much, why am I so grateful for a life that he is not a part of? But yet I find myself night after night, saying thank you for my blessed life. I cry. But I cry with a heart that is lighter. The heavy, dark feeling that for months weighed me down are now weightless tears. Like somewhere deep inside I truly have accepted, and surrendered to God's heavenly plan. I don't understand it, yet I feel it. But I also know at any time, that darkness can emerge again.

My pain and sorrow are still there. Each and everyday I miss Xavier. I look at his pictures I have hanging in my cubicle at work and tell him I love him. I smile for a second before the lump builds in my throat again. But I am now living with grief opposed to just grieving.

I am moving forward into this new kind of relationship with him. I am beginning to understand it, become familiar with it opposed to simply mourning the physical loss. It takes time and I will likely spend my life building this spiritual relationship in which Xavier lives on in the deepest, most meaningful ways of my life.

I believe he too has moved forward. While his physical signs are more infrequent, I feel him more deep within myself, I hear him more with burst of thought when I am quietly listening. I just know he is with me. As much as I would like more physical signs like the dimes he always sent in the loads of laundry for months, or the birds -- we are able to communicate on a more intuitive level now. And I am so thankful I am even able to recognize this spiritual connection. God has buried so many treasures within us to sustain us through the worst of times if we just allow ourselves to discover them.

I see and I believe in the bigger picture. And that picture will always have Xavier in it!

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