Grief and gratitude are kindred souls, each pointing to the beauty of what is transient and given to us by grace.

Patricia Campbell Carlson

Each day, we offer a Daily Question in our Practice Space to inspire grateful reflection. We appreciate and learn from the joyful, poignant, and vulnerable responses that appear. 

We offer the following selection of responses to one of our recent Daily Questions. May these reflections serve as inspiration for deepening your own gratefulness practice.

Have you ever experienced gratefulness in the midst of grief? If so, when?

“It was just earlier this year that I finally learned how to deal with grief. In the process, I learned that praise and gratefulness were a part of that process. I made it through the initial pain over the physical loss, and while I was still sad, I was grateful that I got to experience the love that I did. That there was fun had along the way. That we supported and took care of each other. Where there is grief, there is also love. And while bodies may pass, love never dies.”
— SunnyPatti

“The days before my mother’s passing were very challenging. But when the time came for her to go, I was grateful that her suffering had ended and being blessed to be able to be with her in those last moments.”
— Don Jones

“When my pain levels are high, I remind myself that I can still walk (most can’t when they have this many compression fractures). I am immediately grateful for the strength that my body still possesses. That is not to say that I do not grieve my loss. I do, but the fear that reared its head is put to rest. Today, NOW, I can walk.”
— Carol

A bench sits underneath a tree with brilliant red leaves facing a misty lake at dawn
Photo by Aaron Burden

“I miss those I have loved and who loved me in return. Grandmothers, parents, friends, pets. But I am so grateful that they were part of my life and taught me so much. I have many precious memories that bring tears to my eyes, even many years later, but also deep gratitude that I have those loving memories.”
— Butterfly

“Yes. My son died almost a year ago. He was 32 years old and struggled with addiction for many years. He was my youngest and I miss him every day. At the time of his death I received love and support from my family and many friends. Their kindness then and now has helped me tremendously and I am grateful for the support, hugs, conversations, walks and the list goes on. I am grateful too that my son is safe and no longer suffering. There is so much sadness but I am grateful too because I know he is with me and will be forever.”
— LizCWV

“Yes. There are a number of people who remain dear to my heart even though they passed many years ago. I grieve their loss, yet remain forever grateful for having known them as friends, elders, and mentors.”
— Kevin

“After a ruptured brain aneurysm I had to ‘retire’ from my job of 40 plus years, Montessori preschool teacher. It broke my heart. I tried volunteering at my school, but it wasn’t the same. Then, I began hearing from my former students, now adults and parents themselves. ‘I remember you so clearly, you were so kind.’ ‘You taught me how to read!.’ ‘You were the only teacher we wanted for our kids.’ ‘You’ll never know how positively you’ve affected my life, thank you.’ And I saw then, in the words spoken that it was time to be grateful for having these ‘children’ in my life. They taught me patience, how to listen, their innocence shined a light on an innocence that was soft and open. So, I am grateful for the years of having a job I loved, that gave to me an understanding I might not otherwise have known.”
— Kathryn

“Grieving is all about love. That is a reason for me to be grateful. Actually experiencing that love cannot die, that love continues to warm my heart. I feel that I am not alone, I am always accompanied by love. A true love story never ends.”
— Christine

glass door with shadows coming through on the wall of the house.

“As with others, I am grateful to have been with my brother at the time of his death. I had several days to be with him and care for him. I had no idea that death would come so fast. We were arranging care for when I had to leave (he was many hours from my home). It was unnecessary…he died the day I was to leave to return home. I will always be grateful that I was able to tell him I loved him and that I provided some physical and emotional care at the end of his life….and he told me how much he loved me. He will always live in my heart.”
— Nannette

“I was, and still am, grateful for the counselor who helped me grieve a death but also helped me find my way out of the intense anger I felt over a dysfunctional marriage.”
— Laura

“Grief for family, friends, and patient starts at diagnosis and continues after the loved one dies. Grief transforms everyone involved through a hero’s journey with each bringing back with them gifts to share with others. There is never a ‘good death’ and we all must face it but there is ‘meaning’ to be found everywhere if we have the courage to stay open.”
— Johnny Scott

“When my mother died, there was much gratefulness for the possibility to be with her in her last 3 weeks, together with my sisters. We all were looking after her every day when she withdrew silently, wanting to leave. A couple of years before I sent a letter to her, acknowledging all she was able to give and to offer to me and to my sisters, saying thank you to her for all her support and deeply wanting us to grow and to unfold to the best of our ability, which was denied to her and which was quite common in her generation. At that time, she was so moved and wept, my father said, and when I spoke to her later, she was full of relief and gratefulness, saying that she had thought she had done all wrong. This deepened our relation very much and during her last days, it was possible to tenderly refresh her body with some rosewater, to sing for her and to lovingly be with her and assist when she wanted to sit in front of the porch door for her silent last good bye to nature in front of her. In all my grief about her leaving, I was deeply grateful for the loving moments we could share nevertheless, and not only me and her, but us as a family. Despite all the grief, to gratefully accompany loved ones on their last journey no matter what was a most deeply touching experience, for which I am deeply grateful.”
— O.Christina

“Of course! Gratitude, grief, love, loss, anger, guilt, relief, and a few other emotions can be and usually are right next to each other, and can be difficult to sort out when I’m in the well of grief. As with most situations, practicing gratitude can be very helpful.”
— Charlie T

Photo by Daphné Richard

Community Reflections