Ripples #1210: Grief & Gratitude


Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
-Henry Scott Holland, shared by Jacob in WA


The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them. How much sorrow can I hold? That’s how much gratitude I can give. If I carry only grief, I’ll bend toward cynicism and despair. If I have only gratitude, I’ll become saccharine and won’t develop much compassion for other people’s suffering. Grief keeps the heart fluid and soft, which helps make compassion possible.
-Francis Ward Weller, shared by Andrea via a comment thread at bottom of a blog post


I asked Jacob for more scoop on today’s pebble, and I just loved that he found the words on a memorial bench at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, Kansas. He said it offered him reassurance about the inevitable feelings of loneliness you feel when someone dies. He added a twist that made the quote even more meaningful for me:

“Memories are wonderfully fleeting things, surfacing at random times, called forth by the smallest of things. We collect these memories like treasures, reminders of our past; but just because an experience is in our past, doesn’t mean that it’s gone. Why shouldn’t those memories linger, just beyond consciousness, waiting to be drawn forth?”

Good stuff, Jacob!

Then a few months later I stumbled upon a blog post about the dance between gratitude and grief,; the post itself is worth a read although it was the quote Andrea shared in a comment below the post that I snagged to pair with the wisdom Jacob found.

If there is something or someone that you are especially missing right now, I hope you find the right mix of grief and gratitude that allows you to reflect on the way things used to be while holding on to memories or experiences that you can take with you on your journey forward. Let yourself hurt, and let yourself heal, too.

P.S. If you or someone you care about is currently grieving, I’ve compiled some thoughts and resources that I assembled into a When Grief Happens column for members of our Team Ripples Facebook Group.

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