Our role at Affordable Burials and Cremations gives us a unique perspective into how valuable life is and how challenging it can be. As we help our neighbors in Toronto plan funerals, and visitations, we see the overwhelming love people have for each other, as well as the pain and grief that accompany death.
When a loved one dies, it’s natural to focus on how much you have lost. How will you move on without that special person by your side? How can you begin to make sense of what happened? How do you work through the complex emotions – some of which you’ve never experienced before?
Our care team offers this encouragement: Choosing gratitude is essential as you wake up each morning and face a new day. You may not feel particularly grateful. You may even be thinking, “Gratitude is easy when life is going well, but I’m having a tough time right now! I have to find a transfer service and decide between cremation or burial.” We understand. We also know it’s possible to adopt practices to help you cope with loss. As we’ve learned over the years, gratitude is one of the most remarkable healing tools available.
Yes, it may feel challenging to have a positive outlook when you’re walking through dark times of life, but that is when gratitude is most important. Here are three ways to incorporate thankfulness into your life right now:
- Jot down the “little things” people do to show kindness. Sometimes it’s minor acts that mean the most – and you may not even realize how often they’re occurring. Many times, after losing a loved one, those left behind become isolated. They turn down invitations, prefer staying home, and have low energy. But it’s important to remember that you are not alone – and soon, you’ll have a list of kind acts to remind you of that.
- Every day, think of three specific things you’re grateful for in your life. Research shows that focusing on what we’re thankful for can improve sleep, increase positive emotions, and strengthen the immune system. In this moment, what are you grateful for in your life? Ask yourself that same question when you wake up tomorrow morning.
- Extend small kindnesses to others. In the weeks and months after losing a loved one, you may feel as if you’re sleepwalking through life. It can be draining to deal with the shock of death while forming new routines without the person who meant so much to you.
One essential way to keep their legacy alive is by passing on the love to others. You could write a thank-you note or send a text or email to someone who has supported you. Volunteering at an organization that meant a lot to your loved one and holding a door open for a stranger are also great ways to show love to others. Pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time. Small gestures have a way of boosting not only the receiver – but also the giver.
Expressing thankfulness can keep you afloat during hard times and help you healthily rise above the pain of loss. Gratitude gives hope, and with that comes the reminder that life is a gift.