Gratitude and Grieving: Appreciating What I Have, Acknowledging What I Miss

Gratitude does not undo grief.  

There, I said it.

Gratitude is important.  It is (in my opinion) a necessary ingredient for a healthy and hope-filled and useful life.  It is the key to any real happiness a heart might find on this broken road.

But it cannot fill up the empty place where Dominic used to be.  

Grief does not preclude gratitude.  

Although some broken hearts swear it does.  They have convinced themselves that if they cannot have the one thing they really want, then nothing else matters. 

That’s a lie as well.

Grief is hard.  I am grieved because I no longer have the earthly companionship of one of my children.  But I refuse to dishonor Dominic’s memory and the life he lived by holding onto grief so hard that I squeeze out the love and life that is still available.

I am grateful AND grief-filled. 

I appreciate what I have: 

  • Three amazing children here and one in heaven.
  • A husband who loves me and works hard to provide for me.
  • Family and friends who care about me and love me well.
  • Food.
  • Shelter.
  • A home where animals (wild and otherwise!) bring me great comfort and pleasure.
  • Strength and relatively good health.

I acknowledge what I have lost: 

  • The earthly companionship of my son.
  • The family I once had-we are no longer an unbroken circle.
  • Secure confidence in the future.
  • Sense of who I am.
  • Unbridled joy.

These things are not mutually exclusive.  

Dark and light add contrast.  You need both to see the whole picture.

walked a mile robert browning

If you are struggling and believing either of the lies-that gratitude undoes grief OR that grief precludes gratitude-may I ask you to try something?

Make a list of BOTH.  

Give your heart permission to appreciate what you have AND acknowledge what you’ve lost.  

I truly believe that is the healing path.  

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

14 thoughts on “Gratitude and Grieving: Appreciating What I Have, Acknowledging What I Miss”

  1. 4 months ago my 24 year old son my first born went on to be with GOD . Ýa i dont know how but i rely every moment base on lessons in life is not too take things for granted God taught me through my son Keanu Jamie Brooks.He was born Downsnydrome. I miss him so much

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  2. 4 months ago my 24 year old son my first born went on to be with GOD . Ýa i dont know how but i rely every moment base on lessons in life is not too take things for granted God taught me through my son Keanu Jamie Brooks.He was born Downsnydrome. I miss him so much

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so very sorry for your pain and your loss. Keanu sounds like he had a wise heart. Praying you feel the comfort, peace and love of Christ as you face this holiday season. ❤

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  3. I am a mother of three, with two on this earth. My beautiful daughter left us on 12/21/2016, cancer. She was just starting her married life, and was taken soon after. She was pregnant which is how the cancer was discovered. The loss is so heavy but we push through. Your words “But I refuse to dishonor Dominic’s memory and the life he lived by holding onto grief so hard that I squeeze out the love and life that is still available” are so true. Losing a child is …there are no words to describe. We who walk in these shoes, just have to live this life and it can be unbearable at times. But you are still here and perhaps have other children. You must be strong, you are still a parent, you are still a person with friends or family. You cant make sense of why, it just is.

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  4. I think it took a while to get to the point where I could fully appreciate what I still have after the loss of my daughter. I am now able to experience my grief and still feel joy most days. I have so many things to be grateful for and as you so perfectly acknowledge, it does not undo my grief. My daughter would not want me to remain curled up in a ball and missing out on experiences with my loved ones who are still here with me physically. I try to honor her memory by living life.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so very much for sharing your thoughts and feelings with us. It has meant so much to me after the loss of my husband and son.

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  6. I just. xxxlost my son two months ago today. He took his own life. Someone told me that this may be able to help with the grief that I am still dealing with. Thank you for sharing that you don’t ” just get over it” and what I am doing does not mean that I am crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for your gifted writing. I have found much truth and comfort in your words. I lost my only son, Donny, over four years ago to a motorcycle accident. People say I should be grateful for the years I had him. I am. They just can’t fully comprehend the gaping hole that will always be in my heart. I am very sorry for your loss.

      Liked by 2 people

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