Grief and Gratitude

Matt and Brian Kurtz
Just brothers being goofy. Matt (L) and Brian.

It’s been four years without Matt.  Four years.  FOUR YEARS.

What can I say? I still miss him every day. I miss him just as much as I did the day he died. That hasn’t changed. I know it never will.  That will never get easier, or go away.  I’ll miss Matt until the day I die.  The hole in my heart, the pain of his loss will never go away. 

What has changed is I’ve found ways to live my life with that pain. I found it impossible the first few years but I’ve learned that I can feel two emotions at one time.  I can enjoy time with my friends and family while still feeling my grief.  It was unrealistic of me, to expect to get back to being the happy person that I was. Matt’s death affected me profoundly, I’m not the same person I was when Matt was alive, so instead of trying to be who I was, instead of trying to be that happy person, I’ve changed my goal to finding peace, accepting what I can’t change and trying to be the kind of person Matt would be proud of.  

This is a time for Ron and I to be together with Brian, to share our happy memories and our grief.  We’re out in Boulder, getting out in nature, hiking up mountains, enjoying beautiful views of downtown Boulder with the distinctive red roofs of the university, biking along the Boulder Creek in the sweet sunshine, and sitting at Matt’s bench watching the swollen creek after the winter thaw, with leaves and sticks floating on the surface and rushing past us. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place to be, and I’m grateful for it.

Gratefulness offers a merciful path for walking through life with our eyes and hearts wide open. It supports us to attend to the potency of what is life-affirming, beautiful and moving in our exact moments of broken-heartedness. It invites us to sit with paradox in more fully noticing the magnificence of humanity as we face the mire. – Kristi Nelson

Gratitude, doesn’t mean your life is perfect and everything is great, it means you appreciate what’s good in your life and you’re grateful for it.  

I’m grateful we had Matt in our lives for 32 years.  I’m grateful to have loved and been loved so deeply by Matt.  I miss you Matt.  

Matt and Jackie Kurtz

Is there someone who inspires you with their kindness?  Nominate them for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Award of $250.

Do you have an act-of-kindness project you want to do but need help funding it?  Submit your idea for the Matt Kurtz Kindness Grant of


26 thoughts on “Grief and Gratitude”

  1. Jackie, your message is so beautiful and moving. We lost our niece 5 years ago, also 32 years old, and it just was and is heartbreaking. It is wonderful to hear how you have learned to move forward while cherishing Matt’s life and memory.
    Hugs, Janet

    1. thanks janet, appreciate you writing. I’m sorry for your loss, and your kids lost their cousin. all so very hard and unfair. I hope wonderful memories and gratitude for all you had and have, help you with the grief. it’s not enough but it’s all we have.

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