Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday, I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another. To follow, please leave your email address.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Blessings of Grief

Even In This

It took me a while to wrap my head around this one. And before someone starts yelling, let me be clear. I am not saying that grief is a blessing that we need to experience. No one needs to die in order for us to understand anything.

When someone we love dies, we lose so much that it can feel like nothing is left. As the weeks and months go on, we are left with a new understanding of life and of ourselves. We approach each day differently because we know how quickly everything can change.

As the veil of sorrow lifts, we begin to notice small things that make us smile — a baby giggling as it plays with its toes. A bite of really good apple pie. The stark beauty of the constellations on a clear night. We may even sense that grief has become a friend and walks alongside us.

What I am saying is that grief takes us to a place set away from everyday concerns, a landscape where we can deal with death. Because of grief, I’ve become thankful for the small pleasures of living and the little things that people do that I took for granted before. Even in the gut-wrenching absence of the person I loved, life goes on and good things continue to happen.

The following is a list of some of the things that I was grateful for in the year after my wife died.


I bless my shoes for taking me through another day. Bless the sun for warming your empty chair. Bless Sue and Daniel who stop by for coffee, who have no words, but listen as I share the day’s dissolution.

I bless my lips for not cursing death. Bless the silence that calls me into solitude. Bless my heart that holds on as I walk through the depths of sorrow’s canyons. Bless the lack of anything I care about for the time to do what others need done.

I bless my thoughts for finding mystery in this chaos. Bless spaghetti and dark chocolate. Bless this glass of cabernet, and the next. Bless the grief that won’t go away, and my fear that it will and I’ll have nothing left.

I bless compassion, mercy, love, and await their return. Bless the night with its scribbled directions. Bless Orion’s stars that have become companions. Bless the candles that I light on the mantle, and the steady fire that remains after my dreams have burned away.

I bless anger for the temporary insanity it brings. Bless the ring on my finger that I won’t take off. Bless every memory that comes back from oblivion. Bless finding the lost photos of Arizona’s sage desert where you found a spiritual home two months before you died.

I bless the darkness and its unforgiving. Bless our past for giving me something to mourn. Bless the memory of your love that keeps me going. Bless the unknown future that looms ahead. And then I kneel.

What else can I do?


  1. Oh you got me again. So, so beautiful Mark. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing the things you do.

  2. I LOVE this blog about finding the blessings in grief!! You have captured beautifully how incredible it is to begin to see the good things in life again, after so much sorrow and sadness and darkness. Like you say, it is as if a veil begins to lift.