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Good Grief

We’ve all lost, or will lose, someone we love. This two minute video will help you better process your grief and help others who are living with loss during the holidays. It’s advice you might not expect but will use for a lifetime.

P.S. Watch to the end for a personal tribute.

WATCH THE VIDEO.

LISTEN TO THE AUDIO.

READ THE TRANSCRIPT.

The most wonderful time of the year is, for some, the most painful time of the year. How do you process and respond to grief? This week we’re Off Balance On Purpose in Chicago.
We’ve all lost, or will lose, someone we love. Maybe it was years ago. Perhaps, it just happened. The pain is real, deep, and personal. And part of the way through it is to understand that “grief” has a good side.  Love fills us up and reveals our capacity for caring. Loving relationships are like building beautiful sculptures of experiences,  memories and emotions.  And everything in life has a counterbalance. If you were to take an object, like this sculpture, and press it into clay, the negative impression of it’s form will be equal in scale and beauty. Remove the positive, and what you’re left with a gaping hole – a void of that which you once held in your hand.
Look, I’m not here trying to tell you how to process your grief, or to pretend that I have your answer. But I believe we need to recast the sculpture. Use the hole as a form. Fill it with stories. Joyful memories, retold and recaptured. Fill it with faith and true appreciation for the time shared, deeply experienced, and enjoyed. Rather than trying to eliminate grief, or characterize it as a bad thing, try to see it as “Good Grief.” The depth of the pain reveals the beauty of the love. Savor it, even as it changes over time.
When you encounter someone who’s experiencing a loss, ask them to tell you about their loved one.  Give them a chance to bring their memories to life, and to re-sculpt their reality– turning grief into gratitude.  As you move through these holidays, turn up your awareness of others’ circumstances. It’s not all happy celebrations, but it is an opportunity to have genuine, healing, and positive connections, even in the midst of pain. Until next week, stay Off Balance On Purpose.
In loving memory of our Nona June.
  • Ray Martin says:

    Good Grief
    Great message, spot on! Nice job.
    You never cease to amaze me with your insights.

  • Stephanie Craig says:

    Thank you, Dan! ?

  • Jim Engel says:

    Dan – BRAVO on discussing something that affects virtually everyone. Grief does tend to be more painful at Holidays when you “miss” the lost person or people in your lives. I totally appreciate your analogies of grief. Having Faith, as I do, I am CONFIDENT that I will be together with my lost loved ones. In heaven, perhaps, there is no such thing as time. For those that are there, they may be seeing is in a fleeting moment after we lost them. My looking forward to that reunification is a great medicine for the hurt (or grief) that I feel today.

    I have enjoyed your videos for a long time. I saw you present about 4 years ago at the Springer-Miller HUG group.

    God Bless and Merry CHRISTmas!

    Jim Engel, C.O.O. Bavarian Inn Lodge

  • Marlene says:

    thanks for you beautiful message.
    my dog of over 14 years is dying, and although she isn’t a human,
    we still have had 1 years of memories and she has been a wonderful loving companion
    that I will miss as much as a human family member.
    have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

  • Marvin Miller says:

    Dan —

    Good grief is an incredible way to look at sorrow. Over the years, I have sent many sympathy cards to relatives, co-workers and others and though I have almost always counselled to remember the good times you’ve had with the deceased, and even counselled that these memories, if kept close to the heart, will keep the spirit alive inside of you, I have never thought of it as good grief. This is a powerful concept that I think I will try to incorporate in future messages. Thank you very much!!!

    And was that a relative, perhaps your Mother, pictured at the end of the video? Are sympathies in order?

    Be well!

    Marvin

    • Dan Thurmon says:

      My wife’s mother, Marvin. She had lived in our home for over a year and passed unexpectedly a few weeks ago. Great woman, full of life and joy. A writer. And a constant positive encourager. We miss her a lot.

  • This is great. I love when people ask me about my late husband.
    Julie

  • Kurtz Tak says:

    Been thinking a lot about you guys, also knowing the history around tge holidays. Grief is an interesting subject but obe that also makes us human… not to say only humans grieve. For me the battle is regrets…and not much can be done with that. But we do carry on. Recently watched a movie, where the one doing the eulogy didn’t believe in an afterlife, and i really appreciated seeing that, he spoke about death is a way to kick the rest of us in the butt to live our lives. Just a movie but i wanted to shout out “here here”. Just thought i’d share that…

    • Dan Thurmon says:

      Thankfully, in the case of my wife’s mom, there weren’t any regrets. We’re so grateful that we have those recent memories and regularly exchanged affection and appreciation. Still think of her every morning, though, especially at coffee time.

  • Another wonderful, philosophical message. I was just at the memorial service for Laura Stack’s son, so this was a particularly relevant message. During the service, the focus was on telling good and funny stories about Johnny, filling the void. Bravo.

    • Dan Thurmon says:

      The Stack family was on my mind as I wrote and shot this, as well as our family and others I know. My hope is that it helps them and many more that we don’t even know about. Thanks, as always, George. I appreciate your words of encouragement, and your friendship!

  • Dennis Howie says:

    Dan, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. This message and the note at the end are both great tributes to your wife’s mom (who sounds like an amazing person). Thank you for this and all of your messages this past year. I watch them each week and share many of them with my wife and children.

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