In the turmoil of my grief after losing my sons, I found myself swept up in a torrent of rage. Anger was my refuge from the consuming pain of loss. Each disappointment, each minor inconvenience, set off an explosion.

There’s a moment, a frozen sliver of time when the world crumbles. The loss of my sons was such a moment. My heart swelled with grief, and anger was the salve to my broken spirit. But the overreactions of raw outbursts of pain brought no comfort.

During these fiery reactions, I found no peace. I realized resilience wasn’t about escaping pain; it was about acknowledging it and learning to cope. It was about learning to navigate through my pain.

These three things helped me to move forward just a little each day:

  1. Mindfulness: Deep breathing while sitting out on the deck watching the forest and its animals helped me ground my feelings and bring me back from the brink of explosive anger.
  2. Connection: New Friends and new friends reached out to support and tried to uplift. Although I could not communicate my thoughts and paint, they provided perspective and comfort.
  3. Self-Compassion: Playing the “would have, could have, should have” game was destroying my sanity. By accepting the feelings, both pleasant and unpleasant, as Normal, I started to heal even though those thoughts were obscure in my mind.

Embracing mindfulness was transformative. I learned to connect or at least be present with my support system of new friends, and new family who offered not just sympathy but empathy. I discovered the magnitude of self-compassion.