The Guilt Of Joy, and the Joy of Guilt.

Widowhood has many side effects.

The short list:

-Depression

-Anxiety

-Panic Attacks

-Random weight loss and gain

-Trust issues

-Thinking everyone is going to die soon

-Feeling guilty for feeling JOY

Let’s talk about that last one, shall we???

Quite frankly, I had no idea this side effect would rear its ugly head as much as it has, but I gotta tell you, I am eight levels of over it.

When everything has been stripped away from you and life repeatedly kicks you down, you don’t think it’s ever possible to feel joy again, and you truly do get used to feeling sad all the time. It’s a new normal.

Since 2020 started, I have began to feel actual glimpses of true joy. Genuine happiness.

To tell you the truth, I really didn’t think I could feel this way about anything ever again. Yet here I am, smiling at babies in the grocery store again. I’m humming while I cook, tapping my feet in coffee shops, congratulating engagements, and even wearing things that make me feel pretty.

It’s so FOREIGN! I feel guilt for feeling joy. Society has this idea that widows should be in a permanent state of despair and grief. I’m here to tell you that being sad all the time is really exhausting. It’s too much for anyone, and nobody should be forced into a constant state of the widowhood blues.

When our people died, we stayed alive. We’re still living even though some days it feels like our hearts stopped beating when theirs did. I’ll tell you that feeling never goes away. People ask me daily, at this stage, if things are getting easier.

No.

That’s the short answer.

Things haven’t gotten a lick easier, but I have gotten so much stronger and better at coping and living with my grief. The pain hasn’t gotten any better, but I have.

There’s guilt for that, too, by the way.

Everyone warns you about the obvious side effects of grief, but nobody ever mentions how absolutely incredible joy feels after a loss like this.

To the grief adjacent community, or non-widows, I must tell you that you think you know joy now. You think you know the feeling of euphoria.

Think again.

There is nothing like this kind of joy. It’s so magical that you want to capture it in a jar and save it for rainy days. It’s captivating and miraculous. It’s pure.

I have never appreciated this feeling more in my entire life. It’s the most refreshing emotion I have ever felt.

But it is undoubtedly laced with guilt.

One day, I have faith that the guilt will lessen, and the joy will strengthen even more so.

For today? I’m unashamedly joyful, guilt and all.

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