My grandparents lived at the corner of Brighton Beach Avenue and Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. There was a Chinese restaurant a couple of blocks down on Brighton Beach Avenue that we used to frequent. ( I’m told my first solid food was a spare rib bone at that restaurant. ) The food was delicious, but the highlight of the meal for me were the fortune cookies. They baked them fresh so they came to the table warm and pliant and oh-so-yummy. Of course, there was always a message on the inside. Not the kind of silly messages we often get today, but profound quotes and important sayings. I kept many of them for years!
It surprised me when a client (who gave me permission to discuss this) said she got a profound message in her fortune cookie. She read the above quote to me. Wow. She is the last person left of her original family. Her only sibling died last year and she is struggling mightily. She said that she feels like her whole of life has been crying. That it’s been one heartache after another…and in many ways it has been for her. But then she said that she also has joy. That there are people and pets in her life who give her life meaning. That with love comes the risk of loss.
In her grief journey so far, she wasn’t always able to see anything positive in life. Many days she still struggles to breathe and get through the day when the grief feels overwhelming. She has learned to cope with those days, hours and moments that can drop a grown person to their knees. But she does see some light. And that’s the point. Even in the midst of the deepest sorrow there can be light. Like yesterday’s shared post, grief and joy can live side by side. It doesn’t always feel that way, but it is true. Tuck that away in your mind for those days when it’s dark and painful and exhausting.
Copyright 2014 Lisa B. Wolfe, Translating Grief, LLC