Living in Gratitude

I have some sad news – my dear father passed away. He had been sick for awhile but we didn’t expect him to go quite this quickly. My family is still in shock that our strong, smart Dad is no longer sitting at the head of the dinner table, listening to his favorite opera or typing away in his beloved office. Accepting his death has been a difficult transition. Catch me on a bad day and gratitude is hard to come by – an elusive goal – more something I think I should be feeling than a true emotion. But more and more often, I feel gratitude coming straight from my heart. Gratitude for the very special time my sisters and Mom and I spent with him at the end. Gratitude for the very full life that my father lived. Gratitude for his action-packed final year – my Dad traveled to Europe, visited all of his family members, wrote a chapter for a colleague’s book, spoke at his academic conference and spent lots of time with his best friend in the world, my Mom, whom he loved dearly. WOW – that’s a lot for a 79 year old!! Living in Gratitude via mindfulmomma.comAfter my father’s death, my sister Terry spent time in an old growth forest, noticing the circle of life that takes place there so naturally. I want to share a bit of what she said:  “An old growth forest is a comforting place to be at a time like this. The forest is filled with so many nurse logs and tree snags that support a rich diversity of life, it is very apparent that life and death are part of an interconnected circle and support one another. Even after a tree dies, it is an integral part of the existing life system. I think Dad will live on through the people that his life touched and those who loved him. His spirit will always be alive.” Isn’t that a wonderful way to look at it? The death of a loved one is always sad but wallowing in our sorrow only gets us so far. Similar to when my sweet brother-in-law passed away from cancer, I have a renewed sense that life is a special gift and that we should celebrate and be grateful for it each and every day. Will you take a minute or two in your busy day to be grateful for your wonderful life? postsiggie4 copy     (image from


  1. Amalia Oropeza says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your father. My thoughts are with you. Thank you for sharing your memories and love for your father with us, may he forever live on in memories, love, and gratitude for life.

  2. I am terribly sorry to hear about your loss. I read the UW-Mad. news article about his life and I remember how often John referred to his work, his observations, and his wisdom. From the article it is clear that he lived a full, passionate life. thinking of you.

  3. Sorry about your loss. Thank you for the reminder

  4. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for posting this today; it has helped me through my own small grief.

  5. I am so sorry for your lost. Beautiful way to look at death and he sounds like he was a wonderful father and will forever be in your hearts

  6. Sorry to hear about your father. Thank you for sharing your sister’s insight about the old-growth forest—a beautiful illustration that everything is connected.

  7. My heart goes out to you and your family Micaela. I am so sorry for your loss. I read the beautiful article from UW about your father. You must be so proud of him.

  8. Thinking of you and your family – I so enjoyed reading your sister’s thoughts though. They are definitely inspiring, and I hope that they continue to provide comfort for you in the weeks, months and years ahead.

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss. The death of a parent is never easy, no matter at what age or under what circumstances.

  10. How completely beautiful for your sister to recognize this and for her to be able to spend time in that forest. Thank you for sharing with us. I know logically that this is true, but my heart goes out to you for your loss. I cried as I read this post because even at my best of understanding and celebrating life, and the circle of life, I would be humanly sad at the loss of my father. But, yes, your father certainly does seem that he is living and breathing strong in all of you!

    Big, big hugs to you.

  11. I am sorry to hear of the loss of your father.

  12. Hi Micaela. Thank you for this beautiful post. As you can imagine, I’ve been thinking a lot about the “circle of life” too. The gratitude can be hard to summon. It comes when it wants, just like the waves of grief. It’s great to have a platform to share these kinds of feelings.

  13. I’m so sorry for your loss, Micaela. My thoughts are with you and your family.
    What your sister wrote is beautiful and something I think I will be reflecting upon often. Thank you for sharing it.
    Hugs to you.

  14. Thanks everyone so very much for your kind words. It means a lot to me to be able to share both my grief and my gratitude with all of you.
    May peace be with you,

  15. Micaela, what you said about having a FULL life hit home for me. The sad part is when you leave for higher ground having not taken advantage of all the opportunities. So glad your Dad’s life was full.

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