Can Joy and Grief Live Together?

Posted by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor @hopeful33250, Thu, Nov 14 10:35am

To all who participate in our Loss & Grief discussion group:

Recently a member posted, "I am learning that grief and joy can live together."

I've heard it said that life after a loss is like a railroad track. In other words, daily life is lived on one track and the grief and loss represent the other track and yet they run side by side. So while you are experiencing grief you are also moving forward with your daily life.

I was just wondering how are those of you have experienced loss dealing with those two tracks. How do you feel when you "get on with your current life."

Are you able to separate your current life with the remembrance of your loss?

Not yet. I lost my husband only last week. I know I have to move on. Am trying very hard.

Karama.

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@karama

Not yet. I lost my husband only last week. I know I have to move on. Am trying very hard.

Karama.

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Hi @karama I believe a week is nothing in the world of grief! Give yourself as much time as you need. I found there is no timetable nor common steps in grief. Each journey is as unique as our love for our lost loved one. I hope this makes sense.

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Please don’t feel like you need to move on. You need to experience the grief as hard as that may be. For me it is like waves in the ocean. Sometimes they are mild and I just float with them. Other times the waves are so big I give into them and try to stay afloat. November 26 th will be seven years since my husband passed. Unfortunately, it was a violent and unexpected death. My ptsd comes raging up every November. It is so so hard, but I try to go with it and wait for the waves to subside. Please know you are not alone…….

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@karama . Goodness, I will confess that when you wrote the words "move on" in your post, I got an awful feeling. How many times have we heard people who have NOT suffered loss say that to we who are grieving? And even people who have lost loved ones say those dreadful words. There is no "moving on", in my humble opinion. There is, however, a form of "moving FORWARD " . I think all of us here on this particular forum are trying to take those tiny baby steps forward. There is no time table for grief. There might be a "new normal", although I haven't found that for myself. Many people have, however, but I imagine that takes an interminable amount of time. Please accept my virtual prayers for your healing.

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@karama

Not yet. I lost my husband only last week. I know I have to move on. Am trying very hard.

Karama.

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We always said that we will never get over the loss of our son but we will get through it. I am thinking of you and praying for you. I remember that first week all too well. It was so painful and I was in such a fog.

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@georgette12

@karama . Goodness, I will confess that when you wrote the words "move on" in your post, I got an awful feeling. How many times have we heard people who have NOT suffered loss say that to we who are grieving? And even people who have lost loved ones say those dreadful words. There is no "moving on", in my humble opinion. There is, however, a form of "moving FORWARD " . I think all of us here on this particular forum are trying to take those tiny baby steps forward. There is no time table for grief. There might be a "new normal", although I haven't found that for myself. Many people have, however, but I imagine that takes an interminable amount of time. Please accept my virtual prayers for your healing.

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@georgette12 I like what you said about "moving forward" rather than "moving on." I think I will edit my first post and change it to "moving forward." Great idea! Thanks!

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Hi All: In this discussion, I hope we can see that we can still grieve and yet live our life. Grief does not have to be both tracks of our life. On one track we shower, eat, do the dishes, sweep the floor, go shopping, make breakfast but on the other track we remember our loved one and we grieve. Does that make sense?

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@karama

Not yet. I lost my husband only last week. I know I have to move on. Am trying very hard.

Karama.

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@karama Please accept my sympathies on the loss of your husband. I agree with @IndianaScott that one week is way too soon to think about moving on. Your grief is too new at this point.

If you are comfortable doing so, please share with us a little bit about your husband. Let us all get to know him. As you share yourself with others it will help ease the feeling of aloneness.

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I find your observation so completely accurate. I have a career that is all-consuming during my work week. I am able to think of my mom, whom I lost just over two years ago, with relatively little grief. I think of funny stories she told when I was a little girl, delicious Italian dinners, her immense beauty–and can actually feel joy.

On Sundays, however, I inevitably feel some degree of sadness. Perhaps some of that is that I lost Mom on a Sunday. I have come to accept this as my reality. I am still productive. I can still laugh. I can see tomorrow.

Not long after I lost Mom, I read something about grief that made complete sense–and that I have found to be absolutely accurate: Rather than fading with time, grief weaves itself into every aspect of our lives. It, then, does live alongside joy.

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@hopeful33250

Hi All: In this discussion, I hope we can see that we can still grieve and yet live our life. Grief does not have to be both tracks of our life. On one track we shower, eat, do the dishes, sweep the floor, go shopping, make breakfast but on the other track we remember our loved one and we grieve. Does that make sense?

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It makes absolute sense.

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@dthayer

I find your observation so completely accurate. I have a career that is all-consuming during my work week. I am able to think of my mom, whom I lost just over two years ago, with relatively little grief. I think of funny stories she told when I was a little girl, delicious Italian dinners, her immense beauty–and can actually feel joy.

On Sundays, however, I inevitably feel some degree of sadness. Perhaps some of that is that I lost Mom on a Sunday. I have come to accept this as my reality. I am still productive. I can still laugh. I can see tomorrow.

Not long after I lost Mom, I read something about grief that made complete sense–and that I have found to be absolutely accurate: Rather than fading with time, grief weaves itself into every aspect of our lives. It, then, does live alongside joy.

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Hello @dthayer,

Thank you for joining this discussion. What a great description of how grief can live alongside of joy as it weaves its way into our life.

Any others who would like to comment on the eventual weaving of grief and joy?

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i LOST MY HUSBAND AND LOVE OF MY LIFE, TOMMY, AGE 71, ON MAY 21ST, 2019. THIS THURSDAY WILL BE 6 MONTHS SINCE HE DIED IN HIS SLEEP NEXT TO ME IN OUR BED. i WOKE UP TO HIS CELLPHONE ALARM RINGING THAT HE HAD SET THE NIGHT BEFORE, BUT NEVER MOVED TO TURN IT OFF. HE WAS ON HIS SIDE FACING ME AND HIS ARM WAS STILL UNDER MY PILLOW. THERE WAS NO WARNING…HE PLAYED TENNIS, GOLF AND POKER DAYS BEFORE, AND WE HAD JUST PACKED THE CAR THAT DAY TO MOVE FROM OUR FLORIDA HOME TO OUR VIRGINIA HOME FOR THE SUMMER MONTHS. THE DAY OF HIS SUDDEN DEATH CHANGED MY LIFE FOREVER, BUT EACH DAY I FIND SOME SOLACE AND PEACE BY MIXING THE JOY AND HAPPINESS THAT FRIENDS AND FAMILY CAN BRING TO COMFORT MY GRIEVING HEART. I READ RECENTLY THAT YOU DON'T "MOVE ON" FROM YOUR GRIEF, YOU "MOVE FORWARD" WITH YOUR GRIEF. i ACCEPT THAT GRIEF, JOY, SADNESS, LAUGHTER, TEARS, HOPE AND MORE, WILL BE PART OF MY DAILY EMOTIONS FOREVER. I WOULDN'T EXPECT ANYTHING LESS, AS I LOVE AND MISS HIM SO MUCH. IT'S WHO I AM NOW, BUT I WILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL FOR THE 24 YEARS OF OUR BEAUTIFUL LIFE TOGETHER AND FOR THE TREASURED MEMORIES HE LEFT BEHIND FOR ME TO SAVOR, LOVE AND ENJOY.

IMG_0518(1)

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Please accept my sympathies on the loss of your beloved husband. You both look lovely and so happy!

I am so glad that you told me how your feelings of grief and "moving forward" are weaving together in your life. I'm glad that you have experienced the comfort of your family and friends.

Please share with us, as you are comfortable doing so, a little bit about your husband and what made your relationship so special. I have the feeling that you had some great experiences together!

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Tommy and I met, at age 15, in the summer of 1963, at a local beach where he was the only lifeguard. My friends and I hung around his lifeguard stand, and later learned that we were part of a group of girls known in his crowd as the "beach barnacles"! My parents wouldn't allow me date yet, but they let me go to the school dances with him if we went with another couple. He was tall, handsome and a great dancer. I was in love, but at summer's end, we parted ways with a tearful and what we thought to be a final goodbye. Tommy and I lived in neighboring cities, but when the new school year began for each of us, life moved on to other relationships and experiences. After graduating, we each eventually married others, but following my divorce and him losing his wife to cancer, we met again after 32 years. Our first date turned out to be the beginning of a fairytale romance that our friends and families watched with total delight and joy. We married a year later and started our life together with a strong foundation of love, and many hopes and dreams. He was a successful real estate developer and business owner, and I owned my own events management company. Together we were a dynamic team…partners, lovers, dreamers, creators. He developed vacation homes at the very same beach where we originally met, while I designed and decorated them all. Our faith, family and friends fed us with all the love we could ever wish for in our lifetime. To know Tommy was to love him… Tommy leaves behind a legacy of fond and loving memories for all who were blessed to be part of his life. He was known for his generous, loving heart. His staff and business associates would say that he was always respectful, a good listener, understanding and an inspiration to all….lifting up all levels to their utmost potential. He was a great leader, mentor and motivator. He was charismatic, gracious, compassionate, polished and always had a big smile for everyone. He was competitive and enjoyed playing tennis, golf and a long night of Texas Holdem'. Friends mourn his absence in their lives so much and feel the pain of loss every day, just as I am. I just have to believe that his beautiful spirit lives within my heart and soul, because, as he always wrote in every greeting card he gave me, "We are one, always and forever!

P1000317 (2)

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@lshell

Tommy and I met, at age 15, in the summer of 1963, at a local beach where he was the only lifeguard. My friends and I hung around his lifeguard stand, and later learned that we were part of a group of girls known in his crowd as the "beach barnacles"! My parents wouldn't allow me date yet, but they let me go to the school dances with him if we went with another couple. He was tall, handsome and a great dancer. I was in love, but at summer's end, we parted ways with a tearful and what we thought to be a final goodbye. Tommy and I lived in neighboring cities, but when the new school year began for each of us, life moved on to other relationships and experiences. After graduating, we each eventually married others, but following my divorce and him losing his wife to cancer, we met again after 32 years. Our first date turned out to be the beginning of a fairytale romance that our friends and families watched with total delight and joy. We married a year later and started our life together with a strong foundation of love, and many hopes and dreams. He was a successful real estate developer and business owner, and I owned my own events management company. Together we were a dynamic team…partners, lovers, dreamers, creators. He developed vacation homes at the very same beach where we originally met, while I designed and decorated them all. Our faith, family and friends fed us with all the love we could ever wish for in our lifetime. To know Tommy was to love him… Tommy leaves behind a legacy of fond and loving memories for all who were blessed to be part of his life. He was known for his generous, loving heart. His staff and business associates would say that he was always respectful, a good listener, understanding and an inspiration to all….lifting up all levels to their utmost potential. He was a great leader, mentor and motivator. He was charismatic, gracious, compassionate, polished and always had a big smile for everyone. He was competitive and enjoyed playing tennis, golf and a long night of Texas Holdem'. Friends mourn his absence in their lives so much and feel the pain of loss every day, just as I am. I just have to believe that his beautiful spirit lives within my heart and soul, because, as he always wrote in every greeting card he gave me, "We are one, always and forever!

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What beautiful memories you have, @lshell. Thank you so much for sharing Tom's life and legacy with us! I can see now how you can weave together the great memories and the grief in a very lovely manner.

What helps you most as you deal with your loss?

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