Can we feel gratitude in every moment without the contrast of great loss?

Last week I was punched in the stomach by grief. On Thursday I was waiting to hear that a dear friend of mine had delivered her baby. Instead, I received a call to tell me that she died shortly after giving birth to her healthy baby girl.

I felt sick.


Shock.


Desperation.


Anger.


Fear.


Rage.


Confusion.


Numb.

In the last week I’ve cycled through all of the emotions. Now it mostly feels like I’ve only got deep sadness left.

It feels like there are endless layers to this sadness.


Sad that she didn’t get to experience the absolute joy that is the newborn bubble with her baby girl and husband.


Sad that her two older girls have lost their Mum.


Sad that her husband is left holding his baby girl on his own.


Sad that I will never see my friend again.


Sad for my friends who are also feeling this pain.


Sad for the huge yoga community she created, who are all mourning her loss.


Sad for her baby girl who will grow only knowing her in spirit.


Sad for her extended family.


Sad for her community of yoga teachers. She was our greatest cheerleader and inspiration and there is now a giant gaping hole where she used to be.


Sad that the world has lost such a shining light.

And yet in the presence of this great sadness I’m yet again reminded that there are some gifts that only grief seems to provide.

There is a unique feeling that sits alongside sadness in my body. It is an acute awareness of the fragility of life.

It makes me want to cry. But also makes me want to hold on real tight.


To wake up. To take notice.

Suddenly every single moment feels like an absolute fucking gift. Every moment feels painfully precious.

I feel like I want to breathe in so deeply that I don’t miss it. Almost like I can breathe the moment inside me and hold it, desperately wanting it to last a little longer. To hold on to now with everything that I have, because grief makes me painfully aware that it will not last forever.

Of course, this fact is true always.

A sudden or shocking loss just wakes us up to the fact that literally any moment could be our last.

I’ve felt this after each of my losses as well. But as the pain of loss fades, so does my memory.

In the stress and mundaneness of daily life I often forget to really appreciate that I GET TO experience all of it. And what a gift that is.

It’s an awareness of the divinity of it all. And it seems that only grief can draw back the veil so that we truly see how precious each moment is.

If I can remember this when I’m feeling touched out and tired; I hold onto my kids for a moment longer, rather than feeling frustrated that I don’t get a minute alone.

If I can remember this when I’m feeling stressed about the house build; I can take a breath and let it go. This is NOTHING. Truly nothing in the grand scheme of things.

If I can remember this when I’m feeling stressed about money, or work, or all the things I still haven’t done; it reminds me that none of this matters in the end.

In the end the only thing that really matters is how we loved.

Lauren; she loved hard. You were never in doubt of her love for you and I don’t think she ever doubted our love for her.

In her honour; love well.

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