Grief: Suffering or Joy? It's Up to You, Now

Before you are thrown head-first into the deepest ocean in a raging storm, you don't think much about drowning. Then, as waves are crashing down your throat and your arms are threatening to simply fall off your sodden body, you fight with every ounce of grit to stay alive: you fight until somebody comes to save you or else--if you are strong enough--you can swim to safety and save yourself. 

Grief? Not so much. 

I'd say at some level I was quietly enjoying my grief. I was enjoying being drowned by that raging storm. I recognized that I had changed away from being an emotionally self-contained person who rarely registered much via facial expressions. That really just seems so dumb to me now! Laughable, even. When grief took hold of my life (yes, I let it) too many moments of each day had me in tears. I was at first astounded by the fact that I was actually crying. Not my usual thing. I noticed that I was even crying over cute kittens on facebook. 

Who IS this me? Certainly not any iteration of Old Me who would have been amused by cute kittens but interiorly so. At most, a sardonic grin may have graced my lips. Now, tears. Copious tears as I was thinking, "Oh, they are so sweet!" Boo hoo. (And yes, a sardonic grin is plastered all over my face as I laugh at myself.)

During my earlier days of grieving, I was surprised at the physicality of my initial grief reaction (pains that felt like a heart attack) and I was expecting some sorrow. I never expected that everything in the emotional realm would be more. Everything was more. I felt every little thing so deeply. Thankfully, I even felt happiness more. It's still ongoing so I suppose I should phrase that as "I even feel happiness more." I cry over sad songs now, too. I cry over doggy-rescue videos with good endings. 

The switch from perceiving sorrow in every memory toward joy was not because I was strong enough to swim to safety and save myself. I was saved. 

I have no idea how it happened but one day I woke up and felt joyful. I've had some joy-filled dreams of my late husband, Robert. Perhaps I discovered joy again (joy without tears) during my dreams and at some level, my emotive recall served me during my waking hours, too. 

I don't know how that I started regaining joy but I do know that I began actively searching for it. I read books on the topic of The Law of Attraction and watched youtube videos concerning the same topic. If "like attracts like" then my sorrow would only engage more sorrow. I didn't want that. I mean, really, who does? 

I got back to joy through gratitude. It doesn't matter if you have a religious affiliation or not. Everyone can learn to be grateful. The positive energy associated with seeking joy sustains really great health for me and I'm grateful. The positive energy associated with seeking joy enables you--anyone--to find joy, love, peace, and happiness in ordinary situations. I lead a perfectly daily life. 

​Now, I lead it with joy and gratitude. Thanks, Universe!

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About the Author
I lost my husband in January 2015. He was my stars. He was my everything. I write memories to help me deal with grief--a grief I was not prepared to face. I never would have been ready to say "Goodbye" but I also never would have gauged the depth of grief to be so deep. I hope my poems can help others realize they are not alone in the loss of a beloved family member.
I'm Grieving, Now What?