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Can there be goodness in grief?

Monday, October 16, 2017
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Can there be goodness in grief?

My husband’s death was sudden and unexpected – heart attack in his sleep. I spent the next few months trying to wrap my head around survival - breathing, walking, going to work, taking care of our baby girl. And in doing this, I understood that for me survival meant holding on to the belief that I had some sort of control over my world. Dave’s death wasn’t something anyone chose – but I got to choose how I would respond. And my survival meant finding and choosing happiness.

I wanted to find goodness out of this dreadful situation. I needed to find new ways to be happy. I remember sharing with my mother, that I wished there was something that I didn’t like about him – so I could find relief in that bad characteristic and possibly be happy that I didn’t have to ‘deal’ with whatever that was. There was only one thing – he chewed his fingernails and then used the chewed off nail as a toothpick on his teeth. I gag just writing about it.

It has been five years since Dave died. Looking back over the handful of years, I thought I would make a top ten list of what is good about my life without Dave:


1.      Fingernail chewing ended

2.      I eat at Buffalo Wild Wings once a year, versus once a day

3.      I don’t have to argue about who is going to clean up any throw-up by our daughter

4.      Golf is no longer on the T.V.

5.      NASCAR is no longer on the T.V.

6.      HGTV is no longer on the T.V.

7.      Volume of white laundry is down significantly

8.      I get to overcome my spider killing fear

9.      I get the whole closet and both dressers

10.  I haven’t gotten a new T.V. since 2008 and I don’t expect to get another one till 2058.


Honestly, there was nothing good about his death. I loved every moment I spent with my husband. But because of grief, I get to work on me. Prior to Dave’s death, my elementary concept was if a bad thing happened – then something good must come next. There is nothing good about Dave’s death, and it didn’t bring goodness. But the good in my world has been amplified by his loss. It was there before he died, but now I can focus on it and celebrate life in a much deeper way, including;

1.      Our daughter’s relationship with extended family and friends is amazing. Dave’s family and friends have embraced her like no other. My family and friends have done the same. Her heart is so sad that she isn’t like her friends as she has only one parent. But every time the conversation comes up – I can make her smile and help her overcome the grief as we list all of the people that bring her love and that she can give love to.

2.      I get the challenge of a lifetime being an only parent. I’m not the Mom I envisioned I would be – but I get to share my life with the most precious girl in the world who is just like her father.


The opposite of sadness is laughter. The few blogs I’ve written were about dealing with sadness – this was my attempt of finding laughter. For those of you that are new to grief – hold on. Laughter, love, goodness and happiness will find a path back to your heart and soul if you choose it. It is already there, you just have to give yourself time when you are ready for it again.

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