When something like the Paris attacks happen, the words ‘gift’ and ‘grief’ absolutely do not sit well together. They are not meant to.
How on earth can there be a gift when someone dies? It’s not possible. In the moment, there is only shock (even if you have been prepared for the death), horror, tears, sadness, anger, rage, disbelief, anxiety, fear – a whole variety of emotions, and a lot of swinging between them all.
There is no room for a gift – and there’s not supposed to be either.
Try to find a gift too soon, and you will be denying the natural feelings associated with the death. These need their space.
It may be that in time, gifts will unfold. It may be that unexpected occurrences as a result of death will enable us to consider that a gift has been given.
But the timing of this is crucial. When death swoops suddenly, waves of grief follow in its wake. Let them be there. Eventually, there will be more and more space between the waves. If a gift should then emerge in that space, it will show itself.