Finding Joy After Grief - Moving On After Tragedy
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.
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.
Books on Coping with Grief
Beautiful Quotes about Grief
How to Deal with Grief
More Uplifting Articles on Grief
ARE YOU A BEREAVED MOTHER OR FATHER?
We are two bereaved parents who have teamed up with researchers at Yeshiva University and Memorial Sloan Kettering to study how the death of a child impacts parents’ lives, and the resulting ripple effects as life continues without our children. We invite you to participate in a survey which will help us develop resources to better support parents experiencing the heartbreak of child loss.
For mothers or fathers who have lost a child (or children) of any age, and would like to make a contribution to our understanding of bereaved parenthood, this is a way to make a difference.
If you would like to participate in our study, please fill out this confidential survey at https://yeshiva.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cUXcBDFIiWAg6Ng It will take about 20 minutes.
For more details, you can contact the Principal Investigator:
Kailey Roberts, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University.
Thank you for your consideration --
Judith Kottick, LCSW and Jean Singer, PhD
IRB Approved at the Study Level, May 10, 2021. #30499052.0
Have You Considered Online Grief Counseling?
Get Private and Confidential Help in the Privacy of Your Own Home
The following information about online counseling is sponsored by 'Betterhelp' but all the opinions are our own. To be upfront, we do receive a commission when you sign up with 'Betterhelp', but we have total faith in their expertise and would never recommend something we didn't completely approve.
Do you feel alone and sad with no support and no idea how to move forward? It can be tough when you are stuck in grief to find the motivation to get the most out of your precious life.
Online counseling can help by giving you that support so you don't feel so alone. You can have someone to talk to anytime you like, a kind and understanding person who will help you to find meaning in life again, to treasure the memories of your loved one without being overwhelmed and to enjoy your activities, family and friends again.
- Simply fill out the online questionnaire and you will be assigned the expert grief counselor most suitable for you. It only takes a few minutes and you don't even have to use your name.
- Pay an affordable FLAT FEE FOR UNLIMITED SESSIONS.
- Contact your counselor whenever you like by chat, messaging, video or phone.
- You can change counselor at any time if you wish.
- Click here to find out more and get started immediately.
- Or read more about how online counseling works here.
Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.
Memorial Jewelry to Honour a Loved One
Check out our lovely range of memorial jewelry for any lost loved one. Pendants, necklaces, rings or bracelets, we have them all in all kinds of styles. Choose for yourself or buy as a sympathy gift.
Click here to see our selection
Hypnosis for Grief - 10 Ways It Can Help You
Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind. Learn how self-hypnosis can help you cope with grief at any time of the day or night.
Read more about it here.
Create an Online Memorial Website
Honour your loved one with their own memorial website. Share photos, videos, memories and more with your family and friends in a permanent online website. Free for basic plan with no ads.
Find out more here.
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.
NEW BONUS - Also receive a copy of our short eBook - '99 Ways to Spot a Great Grief Counselor'. Available for instant download as soon as you sign up. Never waste money on poor counseling again!