With Heartfelt Gratitude

“Grief is love with no place to go.” Helen Macdonald

Less than one month ago, my husband and I sat atop a cliff in Mt. San Jacinto, just outside of Palm Springs. Surrounded by friends, health, adventure and each other, we were acutely aware, and immensely grateful, that our lives were deeply blessed.

Days later, we sat amidst a devastating family tragedy. We watched helplessly as the hearts of our children, as well as our own, shattered irreversibly. Mere days after that, our beloved husky, Cody, sorrowfully passed away. The final images were so painful that I have done everything in my power to block them.

Our souls went dark. My husband and I sat alone in our island home, sapped of all energy.

On the evening of Cody’s death, I picked up a pen. Unconsciously, my raw emotion began to drain. I did not self-edit. I did not polish.

I showed that post to my husband. I watched him nod. I hesitantly pressed ‘publish.’ I put my computer away and tried to distract myself through restless sleep, and robotic activity.

Instantly the outpouring began. We simply hadn’t expected the enormity of this. Kind words, heartfelt empathy and an infinitude of signs of love and support began to bathe us. Phone calls, emails, messages, comments, notes and gifts at our doorstep swiftly appeared. Across miles and time, family and friends gathered around us, both face-to-face and virtually. The strength that we received from this incredible generosity was truly incomprehensible.

We know that our healing will take its time. We are deeply grateful to each and every one of you for reaching out to us with your words, thoughts and virtual hugs across the world. My husband and I can never adequately express just how much your compassion and thoughtfulness means to us. We bear witness that kindness truly does prevail.

16 Replies to “With Heartfelt Gratitude”

    1. Thanks, Kate. That is so true about understanding the value of family and friends. The quote was shared with me by a long-time friend. It is from Helen Macdonald’s memoir of grief, H Is for Hawk.

  1. It is apparent that you are still deeply suffering … grief takes time. Compounded grief weighs even heavier.
    It is touching and heartwarming to receive comfort where it is not expected. I hope it continues to be there for you in the quantities you need as your emotional healing continues in the months ahead.
    Hugs.

    1. Thanks, Joanne – The outpouring of support has been truly remarkable. It has provided much needed strength and has touched us deeply. For that, we are forever grateful.
      Donna

  2. The raw emotion of your initial post touched so many of us who have been through the pain of losing a loved one. It can be hard to imagine a future when your pain and loss isn’t continually felt. Healing will come slowly, but heal you will. Virtual hugs to you, my friend.

  3. As you pointed out, healing takes time. And don’t be afraid to ask folks for whatever you need as you process through your grief, whether it’s an ear to listen, someone to take a quiet walk in the woods with you, or someone to help out with some daily/life tasks that are just making you feel overwhelmed. Often, those of us watching people grieve don’t know what to do to help and end up distancing ourselves because we just don’t know how to be there. Hugs across the miles.

    1. Thank you for your continued kindness, Pat. You offer great advice about asking for what you need, and asking others what they need. This is excellent advice to always keep in mind.
      Donna

  4. It is in times of deepest sorrow and heartbreak that the beauty of love and compassion soars. It has been during times of the worst losses that my husband and I feel closest to each other. Sharing that sadness is important and connects you even deeper. I’m glad that you are receiving so much support, care and connectivity, Donna. That sure counts for something, despite the hardships you are going through. Time will heal some of the wounds, but the pain and memories will never totally disappear. I’m so sorry you have to go through all this.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Liesbet. You are right about loses connecting us to others. My husband and I have been deeply touched by everyone who has so generously reached out to us.
      Donna

  5. Thinking of you and your family Donna you have a beautiful heart and I’m sorry to hear about this difficult time. Xxx sending a virtual hug. We just adopted a rescue puppy and I know how much we all love her. Healing takes time I am sure.

  6. I am so glad that friends and family, and even Internet friends are there for you. When my first husband passed away suddenly twenty years ago, the outpouring of emotional and practical support meant so much, and I will never forget people’s kindness. Yet at the time, I was so devastated that I couldn’t even say “thank-you.” Two books that a friend sent me that also helped were: “The Courage to Grieve” and “No Time for Good-Byes.” Grieving is a process; it takes time.
    Jude

    1. Hi, Jude. Thank you for the book recommendations. I had already planned to go out to a few bookstores today. I will see if I can find them. I look forward to our coffee meet-up next week.
      Warmly, Donna

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