Gratitude for Inheriting the Wind

Thank you

The last days that I spent with you I must have said it hundreds of times. Part of me thought if I said it enough you would stay. And part of me wanted to make sure that you knew how incredibly, immeasurably grateful I was for you.

Back home, my mind desperately tried to remember if I had thanked you enough. Did I thank you for picking up the groceries? Or keeping the cars running? Or listening to me when you were tired? Or for the times you compromised? For a home? For children? Vacations? Kindness? For always opening the door? For warm fires? For keeping my heart safe? For your tenderness toward me?

The list was endless and my mind was relentless at trying to confirm if I had thanked you for every single thing. I kept speaking it out loud over and over again- for months.

While expressing sincere gratitude to my beloved husband has always been a core value which I believe is vital to our relationship, it simply isn’t humanely possible to express it in detail everyday. I literally could have spent every moment of every day just thanking him. And because I hadn’t, my mind was condemning me as ungrateful and guilty.

The more I tried to insure I had been grateful, the more I tried to be grateful, the heavier and more agonizing my grief became.

There was a file in my brain, labeled “How Gratitude Fixes Everything”, which was filled with equations acquired from secular and religious messages about gratitude. Gratitude changed everything to lessons of virtue, silver linings, morals of the stories, positive attitudes, opportunities for improvement and happy smiles.

I have learned in the most agonizing way that gratitude does not and cannot change, cancel or cure grief.

Gratitude exists because there is beauty and love.

Gratitude is a response to honest beauty and love.

Seeing, knowing and experiencing beauty and love evokes gratitude. If not, it’s time to slow down, breathe and attend your soul.

Gratitude can change our outlook, help us see the bright side through challenges and difficult circumstances only because we have taken time to see and feel beauty and love.

[Grief is an outpouring of endless beauty and love. ](

Gratitude travels alongside grief, so quietly, never pretending to be a cure, only honestly being a companion. It is not a thief or a charlatan; indifference is.

I feel no gratitude for the heart wrenching pain of grief, only affirmation in my being that my heart, mind, body and soul are working correctly. Like a fever or swelling are proper responses to disease, so excruciating long lasting pain is an appropriate response to being separated from my soulmate.

I’ve been tempted in frustration and anger to throw out that file, but I’ve chosen instead to relabel it “Snake Oil, When Indifference Pretends to be Gratitude”. I’ve tucked it away for future reference.

Meanwhile, in beauty and love, in grief and gratitude, I walk and weep and watch and smile until I see you again.

Thank you for showing me the truth.

Pretending to be butterflies

They trick me

For a moment

Into believing

That death can fly

Then my mind

So smart and full of knowing

Rationalizes what I am seeing

Douses the fire of poetry my soul is experiencing

I know they will fall

But now in the magic moment still they fly-


I allow my mind to have its way

But ask it gently to make space for my heart

For my spirit

You can all be here in this moment

When dead leaves fly

When butterflies and souls applaud

A drama so well played


What does it mean?

Does it even matter that they’ll fall-

that I know that much?

Death is no secret

But falling

Falling up is….


The wind eludes my touch

I fail to see or catch it

It is whispering into the story..


The wind that embraces our whole world

Kisses my face

And directs this golden firey leaf

To share a truth of beauty and magic

To comfort my soul


The wind speaks and I listen

As a child who has yet to know words

As a child still learning to trust their caretaker

As a child who weighs the storms

Against the stillness

And timidly chooses to trust

And inherit the wind

I went into his vineyard to gather autumn leaves to decorate the table, two roses were waiting for me, just two, giving thanks surrounded by vines aflame

November 2021