Even after loss — do you look for JOY?
Do you celebrate the joyous occasions in your life?
Joy and Grief are intertwined, let the ‘joy’ parts heal you…
I had an extremely joyous occasion in my life recently – my only remaining son married the love of his life last weekend. I could have focused on the fact that his older brother, who would have been his best man, was not there in person. I could have focused on his younger brother not being there either. I could have focused on the gap between his father and me (our 30-year marriage ended after his older brother died). No!
Instead, I focused on the JOY, on how much I love my son and wanted him to have a PERFECT wedding. I focused on how much I love the woman he married, and how well we get along with her family.
This was one of the brightest spots in my life so far! The couple got married on the ocean beach behind my home in a huge tent, under a full moon. We were all barefoot and dancing in the sand. We had a lovely rehearsal dinner the night before, a wonderful brunch the morning after and we cherished the time with the happy couple. The bride said it was just like she had envisioned it and my son was glowing. That made all the work and expense worth it! Both families worked together on this big successful project!
There was the most incredible sunset, then a rainbow over the tent after the Rehearsal dinner! It was so unusual, it felt like a sign. My neighbor texted me this picture as she was so amazed and thought it looked like an angel cloud.
During the week before, there were two dragonflies, a few butterflies and some Mourning doves which I never see around my house — but they were buzzing my back deck repeatedly… who knows? It felt nice!
The couple honored our deceased loved ones with a beautiful memory table and candle. That was lovely, and I could feel that my son’s brothers and grandparents were there in spirit. I’m guessing her relatives were too.
Then I helped to send the newlyweds off on a trip-of-a-lifetime honeymoon, and they were so excited, happy and grateful as they called from their first stop the next day. It made my heart sing! I am so thrilled for them and seeing how in love they are. We felt they deserved the best start we could give them.
I may have gone more overboard that I might have it my other sons had been alive. I am more protective and indulgent of my remaining son, and why not? When you’ve endured great loss, you have two choices – focus on the loss, or become stronger, smarter and focus on the joy that remains in your life.
I choose the latter – I choose to heal and I choose the joy. I am very blessed to have wonderful relationships with my son, his wife and her family, my second husband and our blended family, and my extended family. We had loss but our family is growing now, and it’s lovely. The more the merrier!
Look around, understand how strong loss can make you and how smart. You become very clear on what is important in life and what is not. Look for the joy in your life and savor it. Let it heal you.
Wishing you MUCH JOY!
…supporting your journey to a new normal.
Barbara J Hopkinson
President & Executive Director