Happiness after loss. Is it possible? To be honest, during my first year of widowhood, and most of my second year, I was in such a dark place that happiness seemed to be gone forever. And even almost nine years later, I still have trouble sometimes just enjoying life the way it is now. I have to remind myself on a regular basis that I must give myself permission to feel happy again!
What is happiness? Life doesn’t have to be perfect to find happiness—it never will be anyway. Happiness is a state of mind, and no matter how terrible life may seem sometimes, it is possible to find little moments of happiness, even amidst sorrow and pain. The thing is, happiness is something you have to work on. And when you’re grieving, it’s especially hard!
How long will you grieve? How long will they be dead?– David Kessler
Grief Work: A Necessary Foundation for Finding Happiness Again
Grief never ends. It doesn’t just go away. You have to work through your grief, perhaps by joining a grief support group, reading books on grief and healing, etc. (Please check out my resources for dealing with grief.) Grief work, in my opinion, is the foundation that will allow you to move forward and be happy again. I don’t like the phrase “move on” because it suggests we can abandon that part of our lives and leave it in the past. But the person we lost—and our grief—will always be part of us. It is something we have to learn to live with.
Give Yourself Permission To Be Happy Again
We also must give ourselves permission to be happy again. It might be short moments of joy and happiness at first, maybe something you enjoy for a few minutes, like a special coffee as a treat, relaxing in a comfy hammock outside, looking at the sunset etc. It’s about making a conscious effort to fully immerse yourself in the moment, whatever it may be, and simply enjoy it.
It gets easier as time goes on and I’m mostly happy now, but I think it will always be something I have to work on.
No Feelings of Guilt!
This is something I struggled with tremendously in the beginning: feelings of guilt whenever I actually did enjoy something! After all, I was widowed now! Wasn’t I supposed to be sad all the time?
Please don’t ever feel guilty about having fun and being joyful and happy again. It doesn’t matter where you are on your grief journey, do what you want to do and what is right for you. It’s your life. Live it. And allow happiness!
Thank you so much to the wonderful Daisy, from My Widowed Heart, for this hopeful and inspiring post on grief and happiness. I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a very uplifting read.
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