Finding Grace in an Ocean of Sadness

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” ~ Joseph Campbell

Never anticipating the catastrophe barreling towards us, I found myself powerless to the energy brought by grief. Time had jumbled the chapters of my life, as it ended a story that had just begun with lessons in unbearable loss and impractical forgiveness.

This loss clung to me like a winter cloak, heavy and cumbersome suppressing any salvation that once remained while dissecting my heart. My child has died, and I have been ushered into a dark room I dare not escape as the avalanche of sadness cradles me in this isolated space we call grief, barricading any light of the future, I gasp for air.

Grief poured in unannounced divorcing our former lives with death and destruction for us to untangle, leaving debris we will examine for years to come. Bitterness deepened the wound and this quest for blame distorted my view. Abandoning the life before me, with no thoughts of forgiveness in sight, this noxious sore eroding my soul.

Clutching the latch, my hands grope to release this ache, each slip intensifying the panic as I fumble to let go. “I must be drowning,” I pant, as the fog slips in and my thoughts spiral about, we are engulfed in the depths of sorrow; with nothing familiar in our path, our life capsizes as I surrender to this broken place thrashing out to sea.

Vulnerable to the waves of grief, we search for a beacon, a light to guide us back to shore. Images overpower my thoughts as I bail buckets of memories unraveling in my mind’s eye, the life we once knew spilling before me while no future can be seen. Wondering how to endure with the fog eclipsing my view as uncertainty jolts me present and I stumble forward.

The words spill out like honey from a jar, thick on my tongue, slowly drizzling a sticky mess into the room. “I need time to pass, this is too hard, and I need this pain to move quickly so I can reflect and comprehend what has happened to my life and why he is gone.”

But grace does not expand from approaching emotions; it swells within them, gradually arranging the tangled puzzle towards enlightenment while mending your heart at a stagnantly slow pace.

I had to begin with a fresh mental picture, refining my intentions through these somber stories where progress becomes a smile, not tethered to guilt, as the murkiness dissipates in the distance.

Tending to this ache produced an avalanche of thoughts, words poured out through a stampede of emotions frantically penned in journals as I softly began the healing process. Gently extracting the hurt with authenticity inspired a light of kindness within me, a balm that softened the jagged pieces in the place where giving back brings comfort.

Grief had forged the exploration of my truth by unpacking the useless baggage I had carried for far too long, creating the space to encourage joy where pain once resided. Sharing his kind heart became the inspiration I needed to allow the radiance back into my life, and with each offering my focus shifted towards the future allowing compassion to blossom within me.

Scattering kindness provided the compassion I was lacking, releasing the turmoil of acidity by sharing sprinklings of joy. By stepping outside my grief and pursuing joy, I was able to find forgiveness in all the calloused places of my heart while gratitude enabled my spirit to soar.

Falling from grace through grief and anguish allowed me to view life from a different angle, transforming my motivation for change, manifesting a new perspective as compassion grew stronger and positive influences generated this shift to joyfulness.

Celebrating his life instead of mourning his death provided the tipping point of true happiness. Stepping away from the ocean of grief that once branded my heart revealed the undiscovered life still awaiting me.

The sparrows sing their calling songs as I relax in a cozy Adirondack chair with my favorite blue mug of brew absorbing the soft sounds of nature in the quiet of the day while cultivating peace with this soothing meditation.

With the whisperings of the season’s end, I notice the squirrels as they urgently jump through the trees preparing for the upcoming frost. Nature’s simplicity perfects the landscape in this scene of discord, as the pine needles lazily blanket the lush tufts of green. Summers end is imminent and I wrangle it as if to slow its pace by reminiscing about the joys I want to savor.

This gentle nudge to embrace the quiet and welcome the softness of dawn with abundant anticipation became my place for peace, the precipice for deserting negative stories entangled with my spirit. Allowing myself this gentle start illuminates the blank canvas before me, bringing hope to the surface and meaning to the seasons ahead.

Discovering this place of peace reminds me to slow down, capture the details in everyday and appreciate those around me. Life is fleeting, seasons change, and I strive to not get lost in the mundane.

Finding grace in a place of peace helped me realign my thoughts, even after tragic loss. Over time, I began with small steps, doing the best I could and, eventually, my best inspired others who have traveled similar journeys.

Inspire one another with your choices; there are so many good ones to make.



Tina Zarlenga

Find a Local Chapter

Use the chapter locator to find out information about chapters in your area. Locate a Chapter by selecting your state and zip code.

Comments (1)

  • Thank you for this beautiful essay. I’m trying to find beauty in the things I used to savor. Struggling to accept this new normal and carry on as my angel would expect me to.

Comments are closed.

Sign Up for the Compassionate Friends Newsletter

  • Phone: 630.990.0010
  • Toll Free: 877.969.0010
  • Fax: 630.990.0246
© 2020 The Compassionate Friends. Privacy Policy
This site was donated by the Open to Hope Foundation in loving memory of Scott Preston Horsley.
BBB Accredited Charity Best America Independent Charities of America 2012 Top Ten Grief & Loss