Libman Tax - November 2018




When Gratitude Seems Impossible

My Family’s and My ExperienceWith Loss

The sentiment most commonly associated with the month of November is gratitude. With the constant stream of commercials, ads on the radio, and seasonally relevant made-for-TV movies touting the theme of thankfulness, gratitude is usually at the forefront of our minds. But what these marketing companies and writers tend to forget or ignore is that sometimes, frankly, life is just shitty. I’m in no way trying to say that being thankful for all you have isn’t important — it is. In fact, the events of this year in particular have made me more thankful than I’ve ever been in my life. These events aren’t the ones being made into feel-good holiday movies, though. They’re the kinds of experiences no one should have to talk about. experience we have ever been through. We had a baby, and then — just like that — the doctors said we didn’t. One day, we were preparing for the arrival of a wonderful addition to our amazing family, and then the next day, we were trying to figure out how to deal with Maria's health. We were scared, we were confounded, and we were genuinely angry. “There is a real beauty in finding a way to be thankful when things are tough.” This year, my wife, Maria, and I suffered a miscarriage, and it was the most harrowing In the weeks after our loss, I didn’t think things could get any worse. But even the old saying “When it rains, it pours” doesn’t begin to describe it. It was tax season, which is my busiest time of year, my previous secretary had just accepted another position, the brand new CPA I hired a week prior I had to fire because he really

didn't know what he was doing, two of my top clients were getting audited, and my great-uncle had just passed away. So, as I said, life is just shitty sometimes. But the real struggle comes when you try to find a way to be grateful despite all the sadness. Finding meaning in difficult situations is something I’ve striven to do in my job on many occasions. Because I help clients with their finances, I often hear about the more negative aspects of their lives. I know when they’ve made more money one year over another, when they are struggling

financially, when they are going through a lawsuit, or when they’ve decided to declare bankruptcy. Because so many of my clients trust me with their most personal and delicate information, Maria and I thought it was only fair to reciprocate. So how does a human deal with crippling loss? I’m by no means an expert, but to me, the first step is acknowledging that the loss occurred. All too often, people try to ignore the difficult aspects of life or simply pretend the difficulties don’t exist. But taking the time to acknowledge adversity will help you make meaning from it. Next, allow yourself to feel — really feel — sad and angry. Then remind yourself that these events don’t serve as some kind of moral retribution or judgment; no one deserves this kind of loss. The last

and perhaps hardest step is to find a way to be grateful for all that you do have. For me, this meant that I spent more time relishing the love and affection of my four boys, leaning on Maria, and being there for her when she needed me. We know that sadnesses like ours can tear families apart, but fortunately, it has somehow made our bonds stronger than ever.

There is a real beauty in finding a way to be thankful when things are tough, and with the events of this year, achieving a state of gratitude has become a daily goal. Some days are better than others, but I’m working on it, and for now, that’s enough.

-Adam Libman

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