Finding Joy: Embracing Grief
Hello, my name is Joy. My mother was under the care of Unity Hospice for the last two months of her life. The care and comfort they provided her, and the strength I derived from her being in their loving hands, is something for which I will be forever grateful. I had the opportunity to express my gratitude in a testimonial which now resides on the Unity website.
I reside in California, but I am a proud Wisconsin native. A huge chunk of my heart will always live in America’s Dairyland. In the past four years, I have experienced the loss of my brother, my husband, and my mother. I have felt the deep pain of losing each of them and faced many days when I thought the darkness would never lift. No one can ever replace these beloved people, but I have learned that grief does not mean that my life is over. I have worked very hard (and still am) to get stronger and find ways to replace the darkness with light. I want to use this blog to share with you what I have learned, in the hope that it will uplift you and most of all, help you find joy.
My husband and I loved to dance. Throughout our marriage, going out on Friday night for dinner and dancing was about as good as it could get. We always asked the band to play our favorite songs: “I Heard it on the Grapevine,” “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” and “The Rose.” We even took Tango lessons at the local YMCA. Then, we laughed over the fact that we couldn’t find a band that even knew what a tango was. We were definitely showing our age!
So, after my husband passed away, the following passage written by the author Anne Lamott really resonated with me:
“You will lose someone you cannot live without
And your heart will be badly broken
And the bad news is that you never completely
Get over the loss of your beloved
But this is also the good news.
They live forever in your broken heart that
Doesn’t seal back up. And you come through.
It’s like having a broken leg that never
heals perfectly – that still hurts
when the weather gets cold, but you learn to
dance with the limp.”
I have read that passage over and over in my quest to “keep on dancing” without my partner. These words remind me that the grief I have felt is a symbol of how deeply I loved my husband, and that I will miss him for the rest of my life. But gradually, grief takes on a new form – we cannot see or touch the person who no longer shares our physical world, but we can still feel them beside us, through the enduring love that our grief represents.
We cannot see or touch the person who no longer shares our physical world, but we can still feel them beside us.
I have also noticed that my grief has opened up a “softer side” of who I am. I’ve discovered that grief helps me to put things in better perspective. I don’t “sweat the small stuff” as much as I used to – long lines at the grocery store, the neighbor’s barking dog, the mess the birds left on my car because I parked under a tree. I think I have become more patient and less judgmental because of my grief.
Perhaps even more importantly, my grief has enabled me to feel greater compassion for those who have lost someone they thought they could not live without. They may truly believe they will never “dance” again. I know exactly how they feel. One day at a time, I am turning that “knowing” into kindness, understanding, and support. If I can help someone dance again – to laugh, to sing, to fly a kite in the air, to bake cookies and cupcakes, or make angels in the snow – that is the gift that can come from grief.
I’ve discovered that grief helps me to put things in better perspective.
Recognizing that every person grieves and heals in their own way, Unity Grief and Education Center offers a wide variety of services to anyone who has experienced a death. Generous donations allow Unity to offer compassionate grief support at no charge. Please visit the Unity Grief and Education Center website or call 920-339-6700 to speak with a Grief Counselor.
This blog post was shared by Joy R., whose mother was under the care of Unity Hospice for the last two months of her life.
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