COMMENTARY: Surviving Grief and Tragedy – The Spark Within 760.4

Here’s the bad news:

Virtue isn’t a golden ticket to a pain-free life. Bad things happen to good people as often as they happen to bad people.

It seems unfair, but in the natural order of the world, suffering is random. To expect otherwise is to sentence oneself to despondency, disillusionment, bitterness, and anger.

Here’s the good news:

The magic power that comes with our humanity isn’t a shield protecting us from misfortune but an inner strength that helps us deal with it, overcome it, and learn from it so we can still find love, laughter, and joy despite it.

At our darkest moments, we can’t see and often don’t believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes we think the tunnel is our life. This is when we need to have faith in our inner strength and summon the moral courage to find the spark within that, with just a

puff of hope, will become a flame bright enough to show us the way out.

But what can we do if despair is feeding on the soul of someone we love?

We can’t carry their burdens or make their pain or grief go away, but we can be a friend so they don’t suffer or grieve alone.

Simply by being there – with a shared tear, a kind hug, or an outstretched hand – we can be a living answer to despair’s dark question: “How can I go on?”

In the midst of despair, being reminded that tomorrow is another day provides no comfort because it’s hard to believe tomorrow will be any better. But it will be. Tomorrow is the doorway to the future, and that’s where we’ll live the rest of our lives.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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Comments 16

  1. Thank you for your words of wisdom, I just recently lost my 18 year old daughter and if has been the toughest fights I have ever encountered. You are so true, knowing that tomorrow will come does not do much for the pain of a fallen loved one, all we tend to think about is the pain and or hurt that we will experience and have to deal with the next day (tomorrow).
    I speak on behalf of many that would like to thank you for the many words of encouragements that we find in your messages.

    1. i am deeply sorry to hear your daughter is no longer with you. there is a support group that may be worth considering reaching out to. griefhaven dot org

  2. Your writings is a blessing, and give me hope. I recently lost my husband of 32 years. The pain at times seems insurmountable, comfort from friends works sometimes. Ultimately the combination of your inner strength and support from friends and family is what will make the difference, allowing to live on.

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      Esther, You have my sincere best wishes during this journey and remember HOPE – Hang On, Pain Ends but the memories will last forever and, if you let them, being light and warmth, rather than darkness and cold.

  3. Your website and postings are outstanding. 5 years ago I lost my wife to brain cancer while I was undergoing treatment for my own cancer…..but as a teacher I would respond to my students’ querries to “How are You” with ” I am better today than yesterday, but not as good as tomorrow!” Your recent posting supports why I say this. Thank you for your work…..

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      So sorry about your loss but grateful for your work with kids and your positive example. I hope you find some of my recent postings on using failure and setbacks as stepping stones will be useful to you as a teacher. Best to you. I don’t know the age of your students but some may find the blog and newsletter of value. We are building a stronger base of young people who find the combination of inspiration and practical advice useful. Best to you.

    2. Jerry,
      I watched my husband die of kidney cancer that spread to his lungs, bones, and brain. I also teach children and they are what keeps me going right now. It has only been 59 days. I hate that I count them. It makes me feel like I am losing him each day. I pray for the day I don’t count. I like your saying too. Going to say it tomorrow when the first person asks me how I am.

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        You have to grieve until it ends but unless you insist on holding on to it it will end and there will be the time you come to realize how disturbed your husband would be to know how unhappy you are. You owe it to him as a tribute to him to live fully and remember him fondly. You were so lucky to have him for all the years you did. Best to you.

  4. I have been reading weekly (and recommending to others) Michael Josephson’s commentaries for years, and yet have never publicly responded nor written personally to thank him for his work. Michael, THANK YOU. I was struck by this topic, one we can ALL relate to; and also by the heartfelt and touching responses from your readers, both those back to/from you and among each other. This IS, indeed, a community. This same week, a family friend, Claire Bidwell Smith, had her first book published, Rules of Inheritance (Amazon, others), a beautifully written memoir about loss, grief and survival from the perspective of a young 32 year old woman whose parents were both diagnosed with cancer when she was 14. I just finished reading the book, and wanted to pass along that “gift” to you and your readers as well. Thank you for continuing your work, Michael, and for creating this caring community.

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      Thanks for the book recommendation and your wonderfully supportive words. I love your concept of a community. I hoe more people feel that way.

  5. This is so very true and Michael I’d ask if everything is OK, but feel that is intrusive in a blog, so I’ll just say – I hope everything is OK.

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  6. A friend shared this with me. I recently lost my husband of 28 years to cancer. Never did with we think in his 2 1/2 year battle that he would lose. I don’t know how I go on everyday but I do. I teach 9 year olds and I am sure they are helping me more than they know with our everyday routine. There are times when I miss him so much it feels like my heart is breaking. I try to remember the happy times and when he wasn’t sick. Remembering his sick days makes it worse. His slogan was Fight Today. So I am doing just that, I am fighting to stay happy and continue the way he would want me to. Thank you for your inspirational words.

  7. Pingback: COMMENTARY 765.1: Dealing With Grief — If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going

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