Guest Post from BereavedSingleDad: Embracing The Happiness As Much As I Respect the Sadness

Hi lovely followers!

Gary has written another post that confronts feelings of guilt and happiness while grieving, and we are very proud to share it with you today! Make sure you check out his blog at, it is truly inspiring.

Katie & Evee

Embracing the happiness as much as I respect the sadness.

I wrote these words a few weeks back but that’s a phrase I have been repeating to myself now for many months. It’s actually taken three years to get to this stage.  That’s where I am in 2020. It’s such a huge change in attitude for me. One which seemed impossible to contemplate when the world suddenly changed for me in 2016. 

One particular memory sticks with me from that time. It was a few months after my partners funeral and I was watching a movie with our young son. It was one of the Johnny English movies. There is one scene set in a cemetery where the bumbling spy disrupts a family funeral.  He even ended up dancing on the coffin, which he incorrectly suspected was filled with the Crown Jewels.  He only discovered his mistake when he asked one elderly gentleman what his role was in the crime and the response was – “I am the Hearse Driver”. I caught myself laughing at the graveyard antics. Suddenly I remembered the reality.  I’m grieving so I’m supposed to be sad.  My soulmate has just died. Her ashes are in the next room. It’s just not right that I’m laughing. It’s so wrong that I can find that scene so funny. Surely it makes me a bad person. An uncaring soul. And on and on.

That was my mindset back then. I can still hear the thoughts that continually rattled around my brain;

“I am in mourning it’s so wrong to laugh”,

“She’s not here to enjoy this so why should I”,

“Son needs to be happy, I don’t, I just pretend”,

“My life is over, just stop smiling, get on with crying”.

I battled those feelings for over a year. Too often they won. They dictated my behaviour.  To me it just seemed the right thing to do. There is no other word for it. It was debilitating. During that time I also mastered the skill of looking like I was happy. I could seamlessly put on a smiling mask and appear to be happy to the outside world.  I was pretending to be happy but not allowing myself to actually smile.  But slowly other words entered my thoughts. Thoughts like;

“She would want me to keep living”,

“For Son to be truly happy, I need to be happy as well”, 

“Not living is such a waste of a life”,

“It’s just as ok to be happy as it is to be sad”,

“Yes my old life is over BUT a new one has started”.

That last thought was the one that really made the penny finally drop for me. I can stand and look at my old life for as long as I want. The memories are so precious but that life is never going to reopen again. That life has stopped and no more memories can be created within it.  A new life has been opened and is still to be lived. I can still have my old memories in my new life. I can still grieve but I can also start to live again. I can do both.

So yes the old thoughts are still there but now they are mostly in the background. More often than not old memories bring smiles and happiness. I look back with so much love and thankfulness. I was truly blessed to have shared part of my life with that wonderful person. That part of me will always be there but my new life is underway. I now need to be the best parent I can possibly be for our Son.  I need to make this new life work for our Son and ME. Every so often grief will still inevitably wash over me just like the ocean tides.  I won’t fight that. It is what it is. It’s ok to be sad as Grief is just another word for Love.  I also now realise that these sad times will not last forever. They will pass. The grief tide will ebb away leaving my new life behind. 

So yes it’s ok to be happy and laugh. That’s my new life. Being happy and being that best parent I can be is the rent I need to pay for living on this planet. So tonight I might just watch that Johnny English movie again. If I do so then I will definitely laugh at the funeral scene. I will laugh because it is funny.

That’s called 

Embracing the happiness as much as I respect the sadness. 

23 thoughts on “Guest Post from BereavedSingleDad: Embracing The Happiness As Much As I Respect the Sadness

  1. Grieving and being sad whilst allowing yourself to be happy and live must be an extremely hard place to reach. I’m so glad to read this my friend. It shows you can hold those memories close to your heart but not allow them to swallow you up. That’s what I imagine your partner would have wanted for you and your son. Lovely heartfelt post.
    Claire x

  2. Being happy while grieving is exactly why I’ve told my daughters that when I pass, I want them to have a big party and share memories of all the silly, dumb and klutzy things I’ve done. I WANT them to laugh. Laughter is the best way to remember me because I believe laughter is one if the best things in life.

    I think Gary’s Partner and your Mum would agree!💖💌

  3. Beautifully expressed your son is lucky to have a daddy, who both remembers and has moved on with love.. A lovely post.. Beautiful picture by the way…

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