“Find the place inside where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” ~ Joseph Campbell
This past weekend was more painful than I anticipated it would be. Saturday was the one year anniversary of my mom’s passing and the anguish of losing her took me by surprise all over again. I awoke at the exact time I received the dreaded phone call last year and spent the remainder of the day secluding myself from society, friends and family.
It was a much-needed hibernation from reality and time that allowed me to reflect on all of the happy memories and not just dwell in the sadness. I was able to observe many moments of silence and stillness. Those quiet moments gave me permission to initially grieve but then to take that grief and smother it with thoughts of a happy life spent with my mom and my dad.
After recognizing my mom’s passing, the ninth anniversary of my dad’s passing occurred two days later on Monday. As it happened on Saturday, I awoke at 2:15 am on Monday, roughly the time my dad passed, and spent many peaceful moments remembering the good times with him.
Grief can be consuming but joy has a way of quelling the overwhelming emotion and allowing happiness to rise to the surface. It is difficult in times of sorrow, especially when remembering a loved one who has passed, to be able to bring joy to the moment. But those who have left us would want us to feel nothing but joy. My parents would be sad to know that I am still grieving and not embracing the spirit they had when they lived.
It is that force that drives me to find joy in my sadness. It is their energy that wills me to move beyond the grief and remember their lives in a happy way and not cling to the heartache I feel in their absence. I will always grieve the loss of my parents but I will also begin to give myself permission to bask in the joy I feel having been a part of their lives. Hopefully, in time, I will be able to carry that joy into my future and the joy will burn out the pain.