05/04/2012 03:06 pm ET | Updated Jul 04, 2012

8 Tips For Understanding Grief And Rediscovering Gratitude In Times Of Loss

On January 12, 2010 at 5am, after a year and a month of fighting, we lost her. My best friend, mother, and soul mate was gone from this world. 
It's been 2 ½ years since that day and the disbelief and shock are still present. I still endure moments of crippling sadness and mindblowing anger at the universe. Many days of these past years have been spent in bed with the most debilitating depression of my life. Somehow, someway, I managed to refocus my career sites on wellness, and made it through muscular therapy school, graduating at the top of my class. And I continue to pursue my wellness career with a holistic nutrition program that will be finished in June. Although bits and pieces of the past years are completely blurred, with many details totally erased from my memory, grief's nasty, slimy claws are slowly releasing their grip on me.
There are the days now of real clarity when I realize that my mother isn't gone at all, she's just changed form. And the realization that she left so that I would discover and pursue my true passions in life: wellness, nutrition, healing, helping others relieve their own pain. Reflecting back on this journey, I am aware of some patterns of knowledge and tools that were imperative to my healing, and continued healing:

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