Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Silver Linings

"Grief is not just the absence of a loved one: it's the complete and total changing of one's life." ~ Shelley Bosworth

On this day two years ago and over the course of the next few days after it, I learned firsthand how life can change in an instant.  My relatively peaceful life was suspended when I returned from an out-of-town business trip and was told that it had been discovered that there was a large mass in my dad's brain.  

As my family and I started down the road of Cancer and grief and all the things that come with both of those things, we clung to Hope, not just because we wanted to but because we HAD to.  And, following Dad's lead, we got through it by trying our best every step of the way to emulate his glass-half-full perspective by consciously looking for Silver Linings, an outlook that has also served to carry me down some of the darkest alleys of my grief since his passing only ten weeks after his diagnosis.

If there's one thing that can keep someone in the midst of tragedy from falling to their knees in desperation, it's the realization that, in any pretty much any situation, things could always be worse.  There could be so many more things that could be going wrong, things like lack of insurance coverage, poor access to health care, or insufficient family support.  I will never understand why the things that happened with my dad happened, but I can clearly see that we could have encountered so many more obstacles along the way in taking care of him, and I am grateful for the blessings that we had in the midst of what we experienced.

In talking about cancer and death and loss with other people over the last two years, this point has been reiterated time and time again.  Despite the horror and the unfairness and the awful blow of what happened, I still feel lucky, for so many reasons, largely due to the perspective that I was given by my dad.

With that outlook, it's easier to see those Silver Linings, the things that might not have happened otherwise, or at least things that I probably wouldn't have been in a position to notice and/or appreciate.  I believe that Silver Linings exist in almost every situation; we just have to choose to recognize them along the way.  And, to be clear, I'm not saying that I think that Silver Linings can take away the pain or the sadness in a given situation, but I do think they can provide balance and perspective, two things that we may need in grief more than ever before.

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