Grief, Gratitude & The Secret to Joy

A few days ago, I received a very moving and inspiring Christmas card. 

On the outside, it offered a very simple message: “Joy”

On the inside, it offered a humbling reminder that joy is not a product of our external circumstances – it is rather a state of being that is available to each and every one of us.

The ever-so-small, capitalized words above read:

Sadly – Al passed away peacefully in February. He was at home in his bed and died in my arms with our daughter and son-in-law by his side. His heart had thickened with amyloidosis but he reached the grand age of 90, so I’d be selfish to want more! We knew each other for 72 years and married for 68 and we were blessed to find each other. I’m coping well and reluctantly learning to live on my own.

Wishing You Peace and Joy

Tears made their way down my face as I absorbed her grace.

Her hand-written words are not of despair and heartache.  However, she does share a difficult reality of loss and a feeling of trepidation as she moves forward in her world made new by the death of her love.

Her words also crafted a humbling image of gratitude.  In the midst of darkness, I see a woman who is choosing to face the light and also hold hands with both grief and gratitude . 

Grief can feel greedy and all consuming.  Her Christmas card is a reminder that it doesn’t have to be this way – grief and gratitude can coexist.  

I think she offered us her secret to finding that simple, most cherished state of being, called “joy”.

It could have been very easy for her to have chosen despair and depression.  If part of you is not connecting to this story because “her situation does not match mine”, simply consider her strength of character and the resolve it takes in her elderly years not to ‘give up’ but rather ‘show up’ practicing humility and learning to live in a whole new way.  

I think her secret to joy is not simply seeing the positive, but tapping into the depths of herself in appreciation for all of life’s experiences and the richness they have to offer.


If you are grieving a miscarriage during this holiday season, may you find ways to face the light.  For additional support, the e-course “Maneuvering Through Miscarriage” is available and it is free for a limited time.  Click the image below for more information and to access the resources and tools.

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