My brother unexpectedly died 11 months ago from two blood clots in his lungs. He was only 56 years old.
It has been an incredibly difficult loss for me, because of how close we were. I have been through several losses over the years, but losing my brother has been the most heartbreaking.
I continue to reach out for the help I need, from friends and support groups, to function. But joy has been leaking out of me like a balloon with a tiny puncture hole.
Years ago, I remember a dear friend sharing her grief over losing her sibling. She said, “Each time I lose someone else I love, it’s as if they take a little piece of my joy with them and I never get it back.”
I want to get through life and never lose joy or happiness, because of suffering, hardship, or loss.
I thought back on the times I felt happy, delighted, gleeful and full of joy. Dancing came to mind, so did rocking out at good concerts! I remembered a time I swung so high on a swing, my stomach turned upside down with nausea, but the laughter of it, still rushed me with joy!
Playing is such a great way to experience joy. Have you ever watched a child play? They are full of laughter, glee and delight. Free of all worries in the moment.
I wrote a little poem about it:
When I was a little kid, I used to play, play, play.
This is probably what made my joy stay, stay, stay!
I seek to capture this rejoicing once again.
The bliss that made me laugh with delight,
never once concerned about my childhood plight.
A joy that made my heart expand
and erased all in life that seemed dull or bland.
Happy was I,
full of giggles and amusement,
Not a care or a worry,
just play, and never in a hurry.
The memories of gladness still make me smile,
knowing I can still capture happy moments,
and to joy I never have to say goodbye.
All of us eventually experience loss, grief, or overwhelming sadness. You can choose to seek out and chase after a joy-filled moment, each day, during a loss. This has really helped me continue to live a contented life, even though I know there is probably more loss coming in my future.
Here are some joy-filled ideas that produce more joy in my day:
2. Listening to uplifting music
3. Playing a fun game
4. Celebrating a meaningful occasion
5. Going somewhere where the vibe is happy and people are having a good time
6. Watching comedy, listening to jokes, or doing something that makes me laugh
7. Being super silly, or ridiculous, just for the fun of it
8. Reminiscing on happy moments, and re-living them
9. Being with someone who is positive and uplifting
10 Doing at least one enjoyable activity each day
I discovered you can maintain moments of joy during a loss. You have to seek it, chase it down, absorb it and hold onto it as long as you can, but you can have it, if you want.
Much love and comfort to all of you experiencing a loss, grief, or deep sadness.
Written by Elisabeth Davies, MC
Counselor and Author of Good Things Emotional Healing Journal: Addiction