Dancing With Joy and Sorrow

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"Grief does not change you. It reveals you.” -- John Green

Grief and loss are things that we all face at some point in our life. But when losses come one after another, we can end up in grief overload. Melissa found herself facing this, having lost her mother and two brothers in a short period of time. But where many might have crumbled, Melissa found the strength to not only hold the many facets of her grief, but to find her joy again as well. In this episode Melissa joins us to talk about it all and share what she learned on her journey.

We have included below something Melissa wrote about grief and some of the things that it has taught her.
10 lessons I learned on grief

1. Everyone grieves differently.

Be authentic in your grief. Some grieve with tears and outward pain. Others don't cry, or quietly grieve or some grief is expressed in the honoring of requests, memories. I could go on with so many ways we grieve but through all grief, may we be authentic in carrying our memories and love, not judging ourselves for either being in tears or not, whether at the appropriate time or not.

2. Grief IS physical. Be kind to yourself and take time to care for your body, mind and spirit.

During times of grief, find something you love to do and make time for it. Whether it's taking a walk, dancing, a long bath, playing music... make an effort to do at least one thing that makes you smile.

3. Life goes on. This can be a blessing, but sometimes this can be the saddest part of loss.

Life is busy and that can help to keep you distracted from falling too deeply into depression during loss, but sometimes the fact that life is happening and your loved one is no longer there to share it with you can be just as painful.

4. Almost every emotion you'll feel in the roller coaster of grief can be traced and connected to love. Even anger, it all stems from love.

5. Grief is lonely. Don't deny yourself though, the solitude. With time, when you're ready to engage again, your true friends will still be there waiting to include you, with no judgment.

6. Initially, focusing on your loved ones death is all consuming. But with time, and maybe with intentionality, your focus will change to their life. It's a beautiful transition that honors, not the fact that they died, but that they lived.

7. Life is precious and living with regrets is bitter.

8. Stop expecting, or hoping the pain to disappear. The moment you accept that you'll walk with grief as a companion for the rest of your life, the more you "settle into it" instead of fight it. It's the fighting it that gets tiring!

9. You will never fully return to being the person you were before your loss. Grief will irrevocably change you! Accept yourself as you are now, you may be more compassionate, maybe less tolerant of selfish or shallow people. You will, without a doubt, see life in a different way.

10. It is possible to have your heart bursting with happiness and gratitude while simultaneously carrying grief and pain.

For some reason I had this idea that I'd be full of only sadness from day one until whatever date I finally "got over" my grief. But now I realize that's so far from the truth. The day I accepted my ability to carry both happiness and grief at the same time was a day I finally felt peace. My heart will always carry my grief but it now has space to simply live with happiness and joy at the same time.
Melissa
Book Recommendation:
Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman

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