Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gratitude the Key to Happiness

Yes, Father's Day is over for another year.. As we refocus our thoughts on our own Journey from Mourning to Joy, I thought you might enjoy this dads encouraging view on "getting through this challenge of grieving for our children", a challenge which at times seems overwhelming.  So many families are touched by the loss of their children yet it will never cease to amaze me, that for so many parents, like Richard Edier,, Tim Nelson and Kelly Farley and many other dads and moms, that through their grief they find the strength to reach out and help other moms and dads move forward.  To me it reinforces the fact that our children, although not here physically, will never be gone...  look what they continue to share with all of us through their parents...Cherie Houston

Gratitude: The Key to Happiness ~ by Richard Edler, TCF

"I am convinced that the real key to happiness is gratitude.  I did not come upon this insight, I learned it from Dennis Prager, a wonderful and gifted man who is both author and talk show host for KNBC radio in Los Angeles.  I give him all the credit.  But I have thought a lot about this idea after my son, Mark, died seven years ago.

At first, I was offended by people who smiled or even laughed during the TCF support group meetings.  These were the people who seemed to have somehow re-entered the land of the living.  How dare they greet each other with hugs.  How dare they laugh.  How dare they appear normal when their children have died.  But over the last seven years I have learned three valuable lessons.

Life goes on and we must too.  Gradually the pain eases and the warm memories replace the sadness. A Gradually we return to life.  One day we find that it is 11:00 in the morning and we have not thought about our child yet.  At first we feel guilt.  But then we also realize we are going forward.  We will never forget.  But we decide that the loss of our child will not be the all-consuming factor in our life.  We choose to enjoy friends again.  We choose to go out to dinner again.  We choose to laugh again.  I am convinced that this is what our children would want for us.  The pain does not bring our child back.  It only makes us miserable without end. 

Become grateful for what we have, not focused on what we lost.  I see people in group meetings who have gong through “every parent’s nightmare” and want no part of life again.  But, I ask that these compassionate friends also think about the ways they have been blessed, as well as hurt.  In my experience, most people have more to be thankful for than they realize: health, other children, a loving family, a career they enjoy, financial security, life in a free country, a faith that works for them, a true best friend, a spouse who they love.  Nobody has it all.  But compared to most of the world, we have a lot.

The life we now lead will be better than it would have been.  That does not make our child’s death a good thing.  It just means that our child’s life mattered, and it has changed us forever.  It means that in some small way the world will be better because our child lived, and we are the ones who can make it so.  We have a new sense of priorities.  We don’t “sweat the small stuff.”  We know what matters, we know how deeply other people hurt, because we, too, have been there.  We “know how they feel.”  And when our life is different and better because our child lived, then that child is never forgotten.  Each of us would do anything in the world to go back in time, but we can’t.  It is up to us now to go forward, and we can"

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