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Heartlinks Grief Center, a not-for-profit community-based program of Family Hospice, assists grieving children, adults, families and groups move from grief to growth through individual and family counseling, support groups, and other community programs.

Count Your Blessings

Blessings.  How do you define blessings?  My internet search found this definition:

bless·ing

[ˈblesiNG]

NOUN

  1. God’s favor and protection:  “may God continue to give us his blessing”
  2. a prayer asking for God’s favor and protection:  “a pastor gave a blessing as the ship was launched”
  3. grace said before or after a meal.
  4. a beneficial thing for which one is grateful; something that brings well-being: “great intelligence can be a curse as well as a blessing” ·
  5. a person’s sanction or support: “he gave the plan his blessing even before it was announced”

I agree there are all these kinds of blessings, but the one I usually think about is how my husband, Bill, defined it, “something we are thankful for.”  Something we can count our many of – as in, count our many blessings. 

We don’t often think of losing someone we love and the grief we feel as an outcome as a blessing, something for which to be thankful.  Perhaps we feel the loss of a loved one as a blessing when the person has lived a long and happy life, or when the person was suffering.  But, even then, we mourn the loss of the person we will miss in our lives.  And when the death is of a young person or someone we are just not ready to live without, it’s hard to count losing them as a blessing. 

Heartlinks Grief Center works with people that are struggling with grief, works to help them on their grief journey.  They help people to see the difficult, sometimes seemingly impossible – that positive growth can be a blessing of grief.

Our neighbor and dear friend, Dorothy, pictured below, has such a positive attitude about life, grief and counting her blessings, as she explained to me as we talked one day. 

Her words are in the closing paragraph of We Lost Her, the book I recently published about my family’s grief journey after the tragic death of our mother in 1970:

“So many of you, dear readers, have traveled or are traveling a difficult grief journey.  Our hope is that these learnings and resources will help you and those you love in your grief and your life. My husband Bill and I have a good friend and neighbor, Dorothy Borrenpohl, who is 92.  She knows grief.  She lost her mother at 15, and her husband at 48.   Her faith has seen her through. She told me recently, “Believe in Jesus, put your trust in Him.  Count your blessings and they will outnumber the hard, grief-filled times.” 

My family has been working through the recent unexpected loss of our 37-year-old nephew, Luke.  We are heartbroken that he died and struggling to understand how he could be gone, just like that. 

Now, we trust he is with Jesus and for him, the struggle is over.  A blessing for him.  For us, I am working to believe the blessing is to be reminded anew about the importance of each day, telling those we love them we do and not waiting to do so.  You never know when this is the last day. 

The blessing is to be reminded again to live for what is truly important, as Luke did by example.  He didn’t have wealth or a fancy job title, but he had many friends and family that loved him and work he truly enjoyed.  Those blessings are what’s important to count, right?

 He appreciated what he had rather than dwelling on what he didn’t and was truly a happy person.  This lesson I am striving to live each day in his honor. 

Perhaps, that’s how grief can become a blessing.  By helping us to make a positive change in ourselves in honor of those we have lost.  That will keep their memory alive in us as we live. Let’s give it a try in the weeks ahead, dear readers, and we can all count that as quite a blessing!

Be Blessed,

Ellen

“We Grow Stronger Together”

Ellen Krohne, author of We Lost Her, available on Amazon.com

 

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