When deciding to start a blog, I pondered the question, "What should I title it?"  I wanted to spend time researching, polling friends, doing that "analytical" thing I do.  I wanted to come up with a catchy and creative name that would get your attention and yet convey my message.  

The problem was that the word "THRIVING" just wouldn't go away.  It wouldn't leave my thoughts; as much as I tried other options "THRIVING" stuck to me like glue. And so...that's what I went with: KendraThriving. 

Now I ask myself, "What does thriving after the loss mean to me?" This is how I define it:

  1. Awareness: Awareness of my true-self. Somewhere along this journey, I found a connection to something so deep within me I didn't realize it existed. Some call it a "soul," some call it a "guiding light," others might call it an "inner being."  I call it my "true-self." I've become aware of a fire and passion within me that if I listen closely, intently, will guide my every step. 
  2. Grace: Grace for when you can't keep going.  Sometimes we hold ourselves to such high standards and then beat ourselves up when we have non-functioning/non-productive moments, days, weeks, maybe even months or years.  Give yourself a little grace and take what you need when you need it, without guilt or shame.  Say it with a sense of ownership: "I'm going to allow myself to breakdown and fall apart right now because I need to and that's ok." 
  3. Gratitude: To be grateful after loss. Man, this is hard but so important. Reminding myself that my life is a blessing has been the hardest thing I've had to do since Adeline passed away. I am overwhelmingly thankful for knowing her and yet it hurts like hell that she can't be here with me.  I consider myself a happy, optimistic person who tends to see the positive in every situation.  Finding the positive in this situation was the most challenging thing I've ever faced. I've had to instill a daily gratefulness practice in my life to keep my focus on what is good in my life. 
  4. Resiliency: To flourish in the face of overwhelming grief requires tremendous resiliency. When the pain knocks me down, I do my best to accept it in the moment.  I allow the pain to reside because I know when I come out on the other side, I will have learned a little more.  When suffering ensues, I have an opportunity to get closer to Adeline and to my true-self.  When the moment, week, or month finally passes, I tend to feel refreshed, renewed, connected and, ultimately, at peace. 
  5. Acceptance: Accept that your loss will always hurt. There will not be a day when the pain is gone.  My life will forever be different.  I will always miss my little girl.  I will always wonder what she would have looked like at each stage of her life. I will always wish I could see her take her first steps, attend her first day of kindergarten, graduate from college, get married, have children; however, I now accept that I will always miss her and that it will always hurt...forever.  This is my story, whether I like it or not, and I have to, need to accept it. 

Here's the amazing thing about words and grief.  You can define it however it works best for you.  This is how I define THRIVING. How do you?  Tell us how you define THRIVING in the comments below.

In the next couple of weeks, I'll share more about how awareness, grace, gratitude, resiliency, and acceptance manifest themselves in my life. Sign Up if you'd like to follow along.

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