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This past weekend was the 10th anniversary of my late husband’s death.  I had chosen to mark what felt like a significant milestone by leading a team in the Beverly Hills Relay for Life on April 30th. It didn’t stop May 7th from coming though perhaps I had hoped subconsciously it might.

With Mother’s Day following up on the next day, the weekend had the potential to be an emotionally loaded one. My mother has been gone for more than a quarter century. Saturday morning started with a thoughtful email from a very close friend, gently remembering it was a significant day. I was touched by the gesture.

I began to notice my thoughts, which spun into a soft remembering of Gary. It is good to remember. It is a way to honor the memory of the people we loved and lost. But remembering has its pitfalls. Soon I found myself in a place of “if I had one wish.”

Over the past ten years I have been to some very dark places and I’ve also embraced some incredible moments and experiences. I’ve made the most I can of my loss and with each client I help, I see the value in transforming it into a gift I can use to support others through their healing journeys.

As much as I wish Gary had not died, my reality is that he did. Therefore, I had to make a choice.  I could follow my wayward thoughts into feeling sorry for myself. But I’d already granted myself permission to go through that phase years ago and it no longer serves me. My other option was to see that it is we as human beings who give meaning to anniversaries and days like Mother’s Day. They are manmade, conjured up with the good intent of honoring a special person or event in our lives.

I could choose to give the 10th anniversary a meaning of sadness, measuring years of loss or I could embrace it as evidence of the incredible healing process I self-generated to make it through one of the most difficult experiences of my life and celebrate ten years of standing on my own two feet.

Following this thread of thinking empowered me and filled me with a sense of peace. Knowing that I have the ability to transform my thinking in this way gives me a sense of freedom I have never known in my life…and I am sure this is what Gary would have wished for me.  Freedom and peace.

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