Guest post by JILLIAN DUBOIS

I was interviewed by a good friend on Sunday who recently started up a new podcast (@Brad_Hughes). Our discussion took an organic path as we conversed quite easily about students, our educational experiences, and the back story from the book that I authored and illustrated, Liv’s Seashells. (@codebreakeredu)

The casual banter took a bit of a serious tone when I was asked to describe my journey through the sorrow and grief of losing my father + sister to what has brought me CONTENTMENT and JOY. This morning I listened to the recording of our podcast and had to stop for a moment to collect my emotions.

Honestly, it’s oddly humorous to be asked questions and then give unrehearsed answers having no powers of recall to remember what was said. As I listened to the show, I could hear my ability to hold complicated emotions together as I spoke.

I reflected heavily on the words that were expressed through our dialogue.

GRIEF + JOY.

Grief sucks.

I would never wish it on anyone. It’s ugly. It’s dark. It’s a myth that it makes anyone feel better to say, “Oh, but they are in a better place.”

I would think…”Really? For them, yes, but not ME. I’m still HERE. Hurting, aching, full of regrets and unfinished conversations, wishing I could just have a few more days, months, or years with them.”

Not a day goes by that I don’t replay their final breaths on earth in my mind. I remember every milestone. The birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays that are void without them. There is an intense presence of loss when you know they should still be there experiencing all of the celebrations + family gatherings.

Which leads to…

Grief Myth #225: You will move on and get over it.

NOPE. You won’t move on, forget, find closure, or get over such a loss. It’s not like that at all, and to anticipate that as a normal behavior is detrimental to the grieving journey. While there is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for the process, each person finds their way to restoration.

Grief does not keep us from living a healthy emotional life and loving others. We are created with an amazing capacity to manage our thoughts, feelings, and inner self. Our expressions are unique and tailored differently with purpose.

Sorrow is natural. We live in a world that sees heartache and suffering on a DAILY basis. We have permission to grieve. ANY type of loss. We should allow it to be conveyed in an unadulterated and explicit manner however we feel comfortable doing so.

There is NO shame in grief. We learn to carry it with us and to integrate loss into our lives. Share, listen, cry, shout, find an outlet for release – whatever it takes.

Our tears are an autograph of our love and pain. BUT. They do not exclude JOY.

There is a time when the angst and pain slowly evolve into contentment, peace, and joy.

I cannot remember the exact moment when that happened, but I know that it felt like I had come out on the other side of the mourning into a beautiful realization that the loss was lighter and I could take deliberate steps toward healing.

With JOY.

Perhaps the greatest conductor of this healing was that I was able to write my emotions into a blog and then my book. This book became the connection between the purpose and the pain.

It was clear. We grieve because we loved. Deeply.

We remember because we STILL love. Even as we move into the understanding of the void, we recall the treasured memories, the laughs, the challenges, and the brokenness.

Our souls have an amazing capacity to hold everything we need. There IS room in our hearts to carry forward heartache and JOY together. We can embrace the peaceable satisfaction and contentment. It’s well-earned.

And one glorious day we find that the JOY is stronger than the grief.

With CONTENTMENT.

Listen to our podcast episode here: https://anchor.fm/brad-hughes/episodes/Episode-1–Featuring-Jillian-DuBois-eoifle/a-a498a30

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here.

Looking for a new book to read? Many stories from educators, two student chapters, and a student-designed cover for In Other Words.

Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks  

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