Grief is like being on an unexpected roller coaster ride—you didn’t sign up for it, and now you’re strapped in with no way to get off. It takes you through twists and turns, and sometimes, it feels like there’s no control over where it’s going. In the midst of this emotional journey, it’s not uncommon to experience a mix of feelings. Grief can be confusing, and it’s totally normal for mixed emotions to pop up.

On my recent trip to Mexico with my boys, we shared countless moments filled with joy and laughter. Now, I want to ask you a question.

Do you think I should have felt guilty about this?

Was I betraying my grief or somehow leaving Collin behind?

These thoughts might seem absurd when I ask you about my grief, but I bet you’ve had them about your own grief. It’s quite common for grievers to grapple with guilt when moments of happiness peek through the clouds of grief. It’s as if enjoying these moments questions the validity of your grief.

If you’ve ever felt this way, I want to share a simple idea to navigate through these moments of guilt.

Imagine you’re having a good day, and suddenly, guilt creeps in, making you question if it’s okay to be happy. Instead of pushing the happiness away, try this: take a moment to acknowledge the guilt. Tell yourself that it’s alright to feel both happy and sad. Remind yourself that feeling happy doesn’t mean you’re forgetting or not caring about the person you miss.

Picture the guilt as a passing cloud. Let it drift away and give yourself permission to enjoy the happy moment. It’s like saying, “Hey, it’s okay to feel good right now. “Guilt is just a visitor; it doesn’t have to stick around. Embracing those moments of happiness is a way of honoring your strength and showing that even in tough times, there’s room for joy.

And remember, these moments of happiness are not a betrayal; they are a tribute to the love and memories you carry. Wishing you strength and the freedom to feel all the emotions.

Furthermore, consider creating a “Joy Jar” where you can capture these moments of happiness. Write them down on colorful slips of paper and place them in the jar. On days when grief feels overwhelming, revisit these notes as a reminder that joy coexists with sorrow, and both are integral parts of your journey.

Lastly, extend this compassion to yourself. Understand that navigating grief is not a linear process. Some days will be tough, while others will be filled with unexpected moments of brightness. Embrace the ebb and flow, granting yourself the grace to experience the spectrum of emotions that come with healing.