Grief, Grace, Gratitude, and Grit

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My mother left this earth on November 19, 2020. Marie Boos Filakovsky was 88.

There is grief. It’s showing up as lethargy, insomnia, fatigue, and sadness. I am always amazed at how strong the mother-daughter bond is.

Mom and I had a complicated relationship. The product of Childhood Emotional Neglect herself, she passed that on. She married a good man, my father, and lived out the 1950s script of a good Catholic girl, wife, and mother.

Mom and me, Aug. 2017

I never knew who she really was.

Until she was 78.

That’s when I started giving her custom Healing Codes. And I watched her change.

The changes in my mother solidified for me the power of The Healing Codes.

I can still remember the day she asked me how I was doing—and meant it. Before that, our weekly calls were mostly about her. It didn’t feel like she really was interested in me. Until that day.

From then on, she opened her heart more and more. I discovered to my astonishment that she had a tender, sensitive heart. For most of her life, she had hidden it under layers of socialization. Once she said to me, “You are giving me what I should have given you,” i.e. emotional support.

Then she had a stroke. And a second one, in 2017. After that, communication was very difficult. In a way, I lost the mother I’d just found.

A few weeks ago she was put on palliative care, and it was really difficult not to go out there. But with COVID-19, I just couldn’t risk flying out, for her sake and mine. I was told that it was too taxing for her to talk on the phone.

It was so hard, being cut off from her in her last days.

Yet I have trained myself to expect Grace in the midst of difficulties, and this week it was there. My sister-in-law, Mary, sensed on Thursday that the end might be near. (Thankfully, Mom was at home still.) Mary called me and I was able to talk to Mom and pray for her. She gave a strong “Amen!” at the end and squeezed Mary’s hand. She also got to talk to my youngest brother, also out of state, in a video call.

And a few hours later, she was gone. But I know where she is, and that provides much comfort. Perhaps when I spoke with her and reminded her where she was going, it encouraged her to let go. I don’t know.

Another Grace: God had led me to a Grief Recovery Specialist a couple of months ago (more on that soon), and I did grief recovery work concerning my relationship with my mother. (Yes, you can do it on any relationship, whether the person is alive or not.) The goal of this work is coming to a sense of completion concerning the relationship. I was definitely felt more complete and able to say good-bye as of result of this work.

Other Graces were there this week, totally unexpected, that I know came from God because they began to build relationships that had been strained. God is in the relationship-building business!

The support of my friends also was a Grace. Grace in the midst of Grief.

Which leads to Gratitude. Gratitude does so much to temper Grief, as well as a host of other difficult feelings. Grace and Gratitude balance the scales, even tipping them to the positive.

Grace and Gratitude also lay the foundation for something else: Grit. By Grit I mean the capacity to Stay.With.It.No.Matter.What.

So here we all are, nine months into a global pandemic which seems to be getting worse in many areas. I doubt there’s anyone who isn’t experiencing Grief over one kind of loss or another.

The only way I know to get through is to look for the Graces, and give Gratitude. Then, you grab ahold of Grit.

As I write this, we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S. It will be different this year for many of us. I await my adult children’s COVID test results before daring to invite a couple of friends to join us. So much is uncertain as we all look ahead.

It is Grace, Gratitude and Grit that will get us through.

I encourage you to look for the Graces that I’m sure have been there this past year. Noticing the Grace produces that shift in perspective that is a miracle.

Express Gratitude—to God, to others, to yourself. Not only this Thanksgiving holiday, but often, if not daily. (This is why I keep a Gifts Journal.)

And then, embrace Grit. We will need it.

Grit is itself a Grace. And so the cycle continues. . . .

If you feel you need some support from someone who cares and can help you with grief or another other issue, check out my packages at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

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