It never occurred to me that through sharing pain as authentically as possible, I may accidentally neglect to share joy. Happiness. Laughter. It’s been part of this whole journey— this whole hellish time. Some days, it’s hard, and the fog of grief is thick, and I’m too exhausted to do more than just breathe. Those days happen, too. But what I’ve realized is that moving through the deepest pains of life also opens me up to fully experience the deepest joys.
Especially after the death of a loved one, our senses are almost heightened. This life is short. We are constantly aware. And no time with a loved one was long enough. We learn to savor the all of our moments, and sometimes, we have enough energy to do so. We learn to appreciate the small things, and we claw our way to things like hope. And joy. And the promise that there is more. And we grasp and hold fast to the hope that we’ll be together again.
But there are other experiences— other pains. Other losses. Mental illness. Stressors. This life can be beautiful, but this life can be so, so hard.
If you’re reading this, and you can’t fathom the day you will laugh again. You will. I promise.
Pain is hard, and I’ve had my fair, fair share. And yet, somehow, even in the midst of the darkest days, joy will find you. It may come in soft ways at first. Little reminders. A happy memory.
You may begin laughing just to keep from crying. You may laugh at the irony and mess that is your life. You may laugh when you’re surprised that the world is still spinning and people are still smiling and carrying on and worrying about silly things when your world has stopped. You may laugh one morning and catch yourself, and realize that for a fleeting moment, life didn’t feel so heavy.
You may laugh because you know that it’s exactly what they would want from you, and missing them doesn’t mean living miserably. Maybe, it means living richly. Maybe, it means valuing each day. Maybe it means not taking yourself very seriously. Maybe it means, finding joy, even when it’s hard.
And one day, you may realize that living in the constant depths may last for a while, and the hole that you are deeply in, while it feels dark, has little patches of light shining in.
Maybe it’s in a sweet note from a friend. Or in a hot cup of coffee. Or in dancing on the living room floor. Or in the silly mistakes you make. Or in your favorite song. Or in sweet memories. Or in making new ones.
Light is here. Joy is here. In the depths, it’s here. Find it. Hold on it.
Even when it doesn’t feel like you could ever laugh again, hold on. I promise you will.
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