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.
- 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.
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.