Moments of Grace

A widow recently described a trip she took shortly after her husband’s death. “I wanted to have a private retreat, so I booked an Airbnb in a small town in the mountains. I expected to be alone for several days to mourn in private, and for the most part I was alone. But the owner of the cabin came by to check on me one day and as we talked, I learned she had also recently experienced the death of her husband. We spent the afternoon talking about our losses. It was so helpful. We formed a deep bond through sharing our stories, and we have stayed in touch since then. I feel like this was a moment of grace in this dark time of sadness.”

Unexpected moments of grace may occur for those who mourn. A friend from high school who had not been in touch for decades reaches out to their classmate to tell them they are also a bereaved parent. A previously unknown coworker discloses they also experienced the death of their beloved sibling. Old friends and previous strangers may unexpectedly become a great source of community for one another.

Grieving a loss in this festive time is hard. Notice the gift of these moments of grace when others connect with you as you mourn. Give to others who mourn the gift of acknowledging their loss during this season. Create small moments of community with others who grieve in this busy holiday time.

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Dr. Patrick O’Malley is a psychotherapist in Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in grief counseling. For 35 years, he has counseled individuals, couples and families in his private practice. Dr. O'Malley has recently published a book, "Getting Grief Right" about grief recovery.

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