You’ve had to say your good-byes far too soon. A casket lies beneath the mud-trampled ground of the fresh grave; newly laid sod and a bouquet of flowers decorate the barren earth. The day has left you tear-streaked and numb.
What good could come from a day like this? Is it even possible to find beauty amidst tragedy with the bitter-taste of this farewell?
The loss community often talks of finding beauty amidst tragedy, but is this really possible?
To grief shattered eyes the world appears grey. Life feels as if it has lost its flavour and spice, its intensity and cheer.
You wonder if you will ever feel the way you did before — lighthearted and untouched by sorrow. Will your laugh ever burst freely again, your joy unfettered?
Those around you offer best-intentioned words of comfort. But their statements encouraging you to “look on the bright side” offer little to no comfort at all.
“At least he’s not in pain now.”
“At least baby died before you got to know them.”
“At least you got to spend ten years together.”
At least… at least… at least…
There is no at least in this situation. The hole in your heart is raw, the blood fresh, and the pain too sharp yet to see beyond today.
Trying to find positives in the midst of your deepest heartbreak doesn’t bring you relief.
So where does this beauty come from? If it’s not found in the meaningless “at leasts” and a forced positive outlook — what kind of beauty are we even talking about?
Beauty looks different for each of us; it’s a term that can be relative and abstract, yet powerful and awe-inspiring.
And the beauty uncovered in the midst of our grief is often reflective — the sort that comes with the passage of time and the processing of thoughts.
It’s the beauty found in memories and tear-stained journal pages. In voices tentatively raised in song once again.
In hearts that choose to keep on loving despite the pain. It’s beauty found in days of sunshine and in days of rain.
In the weeping and the laughter. In the strength to get out of bed and face another day.
Finding beauty in your story doesn’t mean that the wounds have healed or that the tears have dried.
It just means that there are new lessons to be learned, even here, even now: lessons of strength and courage and of what it means to cherish and embrace life even when it hurts.
This kind of beauty is not separate from our mourning; it’s woven all within. It’s a kind that says, “I weep because I loved” — and that is beautiful.
Yes, we may see the world differently now, but perhaps this altered lens isn’t altogether terrible.
Perhaps, this grief-driven perspective has actually given us a new opportunity — the chance to uncover beauty hidden in the most unexpected of places.
Liz is the proud mother of six precious children: one son in her arms and an extra five babies carried in her heart. Liz writes about motherhood, faith, and life after loss on her blog MommyMannegren. You can follow along on Facebook or Instagram for more of this messy, grief-filled but ever beautiful story.