After a Year Of Loss, Here’s Why We’re Grateful For The Lessons This Thanksgiving

If I could sum up 2020 in one word, it would be: loss.

Whether it was a family member, a job, house, or just our “old lives”, loss has touched the heart of every person living through these times.

And with Thanksgiving just around the corner… as curfews and lockdowns are reinstated nationwide, that lesson of loss is front and center again. 

The beautiful thing about loss, though, is that it is a great teacher. 

You, as a funeral professional, know this better than anyone. Behind your wisdom is years of working with and looking at loss from all different perspectives.

With that, and Thanksgiving, in mind, let’s look at 6 reasons we can be grateful for our lessons in loss this year:


#1: Thanks to loss, I can value life and all its nuances more

Have you ever heard of the phenomenon called “scarcity heuristic” before? It essentially says that we value things more when they’re scarce. Therefore, when we face loss and death, we learn to value life more. 

This year allows us to value the normalcy we used to have. We can value everything in our lives a little more, because we’ve been shown this year that all that we know can go in just a blink of an eye. And that gratitude can bring healing into our lives, miracles, and many forms of abundance.


#2: Thanks to loss, my abilities to feel and stay grateful expand

One study from 2011 shows us that facing death not only helps us place more value on life, but it actually opens us up more to feel gratitude. In this study, researchers found that those who were given an opportunity to reflect on death, felt more gratitude, more easily. Their findings supported the theory that “becoming aware of one’s mortal limitations enhances gratitude for the life that one has,” according to their site. Pretty cool, huh?


#3: Thanks to loss, I can learn to let go of control

We can try and convince ourselves that we can control all aspects of our life. And if we will ourselves enough, we can certainly do a pretty good job at maintaining that illusion. But alas, when loss strikes, we remember the truth: we have no control over anything. Life is a fragile gift, and we don’t get to choose when it ends.

I remember a Buddhist teaching I once read that compared life to setting sail on a boat that we know will sink. The teaching was simply to embrace our mortality, and use it as a vehicle to live consciously, and presently. This, my friends, is the golden gift of being a human. 


#4: Thanks to loss, I’ve learned to be present with what is uncomfortable

Having a relationship with loss in my everyday life has taught me to better sit with what is insecure, uncertain, and uncomfortable. It’s taught me that satisfaction is not guaranteed. And that this… this is all okay. And I don’t have to hide from it either. 


#5: Thanks to loss, I don’t have to hide anymore

One of my favorite quotes ever is by Pema Chodron and says: 

“Suffering ends when we let go of the belief that there is anywhere to hide”. 

The truth is that we can try and hide from loss in our lives. We can attempt to fill the hole of loss in our heart with food, drinks, people, TV, social media… and the list goes on. But we always know the hole is there. And that no matter how much we fill it, it will always be there. So why hide it? Why not just accept it? And maybe even, befriend it? The practice of accepting the hole of grief within me has helped me radically change my life, and heal some deep wounds in my life.

#6: Thanks to loss, I’ve learned what is important

When you lose everything you know, or everything that is comfortable, the teaching of importance sets in. Everything that isn’t essential in life, finds a way of falling away.

What I’ve found that’s left over when I go through loss, is love. 

Rumi says that “you have to keep breaking your heart until it opens,” and I tend to agree with him. When you strip it all away, and break everything, all there’s left, in the end, is love. And with that love, comes your healing. That love is actually who we all are. 

So thank you loss, for teaching us who and what we are.

Thank you for helping us strip it all away, for showing us tenderness, and for your grace.

This Thanksgiving, we may not all be able to come together, but through the loss in our hearts, my hope is that these words bring you back to the essence of this holiday — a holiday about gratitude, grace, unity and love.

Happy Thanksgiving from our hearts to yours,

The funeralOne team

What lessons has loss taught you, that you can show gratitude for? Tell us in the comments below!

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