One of the hard things about working through grief is seeing people around you who are happy, especially if the reason for their happiness is close to the reason for your grief. After we lost our son Avery, it was hard to rejoice with people I knew who were having babies or having children recover from serious illnesses. It's not that I wanted them to be unhappy. But I would have preferred not to be unhappy myself.
Now the situation is reversed as we celebrate the arrival of our Toby. Born safe and sound on May 28, he is a great blessing, and Henry is enjoying being a big brother. As we rejoice, others around us are suffering.
One couple had a son who was stillborn very late in pregnancy. Another couple lost their older son after a long illness. A woman we met at the hospital has a grown daughter who is dying of cancer. We've also heard about prominent people who are going through grief, including Vice President Joe Biden and the family of his son Beau, who died of cancer.
Sheryl Sandberg inspired me to think about work and relationships and life in a different way with her book Lean In. Now she is grieving with her two young children after the sudden death of her husband in an accident. Her reflections on grief are powerful.
Grief touches all of us--famous and forgotten, rich and poor, old and young. Nothing exempts us from the possibility of facing grief, and nothing can make grief go away when tragedy strikes.
Even though grief transforms us, forcing a new normal on our lives, grief need not have the final word. As Sheryl Sandberg says:
Finding happiness in other things in life does not take away grief and the pain it has caused. But we can be grateful for each blessing of each new day. And we can remember in our happiness and our sadness that the people around us may be suffering from an unspoken grief that affects them deeply.