Fourteen years ago, I questioned whether I would ever feel like smiling again—and whether I’d be happy in the future. But now I know it’s true—and not just for me, but for so many others who have been through the pain of grief. If you’re wondering the same thing, I want to reassure you that happiness is not only possible, but likely to happen for you, if that’s the choice you make after loss.
A wonderful friend from a past grief support group, who lost his wife several years ago, suggested that I share my story to encourage others who are disheartened and now facing loss. Regardless of where you are at this moment, know that you are not alone, and many of us have been in the same place—struggling with negative feelings, fears, and uncertainties.
My story of loss happened suddenly, without any warning. I thought everything was just fine. My husband took off on a mountain bike ride—something he frequently did—except this time, he never came home. The instant he died, my entire life changed. I had trouble envisioning any kind of future for myself back then.
Thankfully, each of us can move forward at our own pace. I took one step at a time, and sometimes, even those were halting steps. However, I kept moving ahead. I made a firm decision that I was not going to let my loss cause me to be bitter—because I didn’t want this tragedy control the rest of my life. I believe that decision played a key part in my healing.
As time went on, I was just living my life in the best way I knew. I was involved in my career, some classes, volunteer activities, etc., and when I least expected anything to happen, I ‘accidentally’ met the man I would eventually marry. (Of course, I don’t believe our meeting was a coincidence.) We discovered we had things in common from the moment we met. He had also lost his spouse, but her death followed a long-term battle with cancer. Our relationship grew, and we decided to get married about a year after we met.
Later on, we were asked to lead grief support workshops together. We had lots to share, since our experiences were so radically different. People we’ve met see us as a symbol of hope. If we can survive and be happy again—so can you! It’s true.
We’ve met and become acquainted with countless people through the grief support workshops we led. Not only are we an example of God’s grace after loss, we’ve met so many other people with similar stories of triumph and wonderful new beginnings. I just recently heard from a widow who attended some of our past groups. I can tell you without reservation that when we met her, she would never have believed she would find love and happiness again. She’s getting married in September! She’s on Cloud Nine.
We’ve seen so many other examples of people who have gone on to lead fulfilling, productive, and happy lives after loss. It’s not only possible, it’s probable—if you decide to grieve your loss, and if you want to be happy again. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your own mind. It can work for or against you.
Are you looking for sunshine after grief?
Be open to possibilities! Your gift may be an opportunity or a person—and it may not be the one you hoped for or even expected! You never know when your new gift may arrive…
We’d love to hear your story of hope! You can help others by sharing.
© 2012 Judy Brizendine