I have been doing a gratitude meditation daily for several years. Maybe that is why I am naturally drawn to express my grief in terms of gratitude.

Nearly four months after Karl died, the concept of gratitude features in a poem I write for a gathering of friends in Vancouver.

It’s my first poem for Karl following his death:


In the before time

we had no need for poems

We had songs and stories

to punctuate our days

You specialized in inspirational bedtime stories

I composed new songs for you

in the car

while you drove single-handed

rubbing the sleep from your eyes


I had you.

With me.




No Pretty, no Beauty, no Sweetie, no Goney

no Beloved.

No Karl.

You’re just around the corner, maybe…

but out of reach


If I were a poet, I’d remember:

Huge love

Bright as a tropical sky

Open to everything

Your warm brown laugh

Two little old guys

Growing older together

Hoping for that

and nothing more


Now I accept:

A broken, overflowing heart

Blessed memories

New life drawing me forward

A semblance of equanimity

Peace, even

Gratitude, certainly.

* * *

My poem reminds me (although I sometimes forget), that gratitude for Karl’s life arose immediately following his death and stays with me even when I feel I am losing heart.

I have never stopped blessing Karl — or sensing the lessons and blessings emerging from the apparent tragedy of his sudden death. I make those blessings conscious through my daily communications with him.