Finding Joy After Grief - Moving On After Tragedy
by Wendy

Many thanks to my friend Wendy for this inspirational article which shows that it is possible to find joy again after grief. 

Some people will tell you that life is a fairy tale. Others will say life is a nightmare. However I agree with the wonderful American satirist Tom Lehrer who said that life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it.

I went through a difficult time when my husband was dying of a malignant brain tumor. I wondered why it had to happen to such a wonderful man. I wondered what we had done as a couple to deserve such agony. When I lost a breast to cancer six months after my husband’s death I had no energy to waste on asking unanswerable questions so I decided that “Shit happens”. There is no rhyme or reason, no great plan, no secret agenda. “Shit happens”. We have little or no control over these events and we have no way of predicting or understanding them.

During that five year period I lost my husband, a breast, my father and eight good friends. However throughout that time I also gained much personal strength, more self awareness and increased ability to see the joy of life.

It seems trite but after grief you do see the beauty of everyday things like a sunset, seasonal changes, a child’s progress with an increased intensity that is amazing. You realize how vital friends and family are. How unimportant material things are unless they help you achieve joy.

Woman looking at the sunrise to illustrate finding joy after grief

A Story of How I Found Moments of Joy After Grief

My mother is 94 years old but pretty fit and healthy. We had lost my father a year earlier. They had been together since she was fourteen. We expected her to give up but quite to the contrary she decided she wanted to fly from Newcastle in UK to Atlanta in Georgia USA to meet her great grandchildren for the first time. While she would pay for herself she decided I would act as travel agent and tour guide. What could I say to the woman who gave me life? The dates were set.

I arrived in London Heathrow and transferred to Terminal Five on its opening day. What chaos!! My hour stopover turned into seven hours. My luggage arrived a week later and was so wet and smelly much of my clothing had to be thrown away. Then my mother had a fall and so we had to postpone the flight to Atlanta. As I had to stay and take care of her I missed my trip to see the Masters Golf Tournament in nearby Augusta. Then to crown it all eight inches of snow fell. Talk about “Shit happens”!!!

Luckily I could fit into my mother’s snow boots and heavy jacket. As I trudged to the shops (I was too scared to risk driving) I remembered how beautiful falling snow is. I recalled the gentle blanket effect it had, muffling traffic noises. I felt again the tingling in my nose, the crisp air, waves in the snowdrifts. I remembered fun in the snow as a child with family and friends. I remembered the joy. My mother felt unable to travel and so we spent time together just hanging out. We talked, I met more of her friends, I joined in her life. I had never had this opportunity before.

After a while she insisted I leave her and continue my trip. We put the tickets on hold for when she was fit again. I had been in Atlanta two weeks when my mother telephoned and told me she was now fit to travel. What could I do? I went back to get her. Anticipating chaos at Heathrow, awful weather, stress, the cost of another airline ticket, feeling far from positive I set out.

We had a seamless trip. Indeed it was easier traveling with my mother in a wheelchair than it usually was. The service was wonderful. We finally arrived at the Atlanta house and opened the door. My mother was instantly engulfed by her great grandchildren squealing with delight. She burst into tears. I burst into tears. My niece (their mother) burst into tears. My niece’s husband burst into tears. After a while a voice behind me said “Where shall I put the luggage Ma’am?” There was our taxi driver, a huge African American, a complete stranger standing with tears pouring down his face. He was joining in the joy of our very special moment.

“Shit happens” but do not let it get you down. You can find joy everywhere if you look closely even after enduring the most unimaginable grief.  You can make it happen if you try hard enough.

An uplifting sunrise over the water.  A moment of happiness after tragedy.

Related Pages: 

Books on Coping with Grief

Beautiful Quotes about Grief

How to Deal with Grief

More Uplifting Articles on Grief

> > Joy After Grief

Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.  

Memorial Magnolia Tree

The Magnolia is one of the earth's oldest plants, with a spectacular flower which dates back 95 million years.  What a beautiful specimen to commemorate a life. 

These trees are grown by the foremost magnolia nursery in the country and they will send a variety most suited to the recipient's climate. 

The flowers in spring will bring joy to the bereaved and help to heal their heart.

Please Support this Site with a Donation

If you have found our site helpful, please consider a small donation towards our running costs.  It is expensive in time and money to maintain the site and we try to keep it as ad free as we can! 

If everyone were to donate just one dollar, it would cover our costs.  A little more will help us to expand and reach even more people. 

Please note we are not a not-for-profit organisation, so you won't be able to claim this donation against your tax!  But we do need to eat and pay the phone bill!

You can use your paypal account but you don't need to belong to paypal to use this secure payment button, it accepts all major debit and credit cards. We do not collect any of your personal information when you make a payment. 

We thank you and all our readers thank you for whatever you can afford. 

Join us on Facebook for articles, support, discussion and more.  Click 'Like' below.

Sign up for our newsletter and receive:

"The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do
To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life"

Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.  

The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day! 

All you have to do to receive this free document is fill in your email address below. 

You will also receive our newsletter which we send out from time to time with our newest comforting and helpful information.   You can unsubscribe any time you like, and don't worry, your email address is totally safe with us. 

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Grief and Sympathy News.