I remember thinking I’d never laugh again. I remember thinking I’d never smile again or breathe without heartbreak and pain. 

I remember thinking I’d never feel true happiness again. How can you laugh and smile and experience joy while holding immense grief? How can you enjoy life when you feel like the world has ended? 

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Can you live with both grief and happiness?

Can you live with both heartbreak and joy? 

At first, grief overshadows every other feeling and emotion. Time changes that.

Time shifts grief’s power and influence. After the initial pain and manipulation of grief, life begins to contain both happiness and loss. Both grief and joy. Both heartbreak and love. Intricate blends of diverse feelings and emotions. 

One day I smiled again. 
And I laughed. 
And I enjoyed life. 
And I felt happy again.

And guilty. 

Grief is delicate and confusing. 
Grief is consuming and powerful. 
It acts as a harsh leader until you learn how to partner with it. 

When you collaborate with grief and accept it’s influence, you find laughter again. And joy, and fun, and adventure.

You don’t lose the ache or sadness or heartache. You simply exchange the emptiness for a partnership of intricate and diverse harsh realities and hope.

Once you understand the permanent companionship of grief . . . 

You breathe again. 
You laugh and smile and dance again.
You live again.

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After grief, happiness changes and transforms, but it still exists. 

After grief, joy looks different and feels different, but it still exists. 

After you understand grief, after you learn from its existence, you learn a different way to smile, laugh, and live again. Different, but still important and beautiful. 

xox, Chels 

Originally published on the author’s blog

Chelsea Ohlemiller

Wife, mother, and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is married to the love of her life and is the mother to three beautiful and spunky children. Chelsea’s mother always encouraged her to write. In 2017 when she tragically lost her mother to cancer she decided to honor her mother's wishes and write. It was one of the best decisions she's ever made. She know owns the website Happiness, Hope & Harsh Realities, a space dedicated to encouraging others experiencing grief and loss. Website: www.hopeandharshrealities.com Instagram Handle: hopeandharshrealities Facebook: @hopeandharshrealities