The Sorrow and the Joy

In a recent email conversation, author and friend Stephen Graham King sent me this quote he once found on a chalkboard years ago, and remembered:

“The most helpful discovery of today has been that right in the midst of my sorrows, there is always room for joy. Joy and sorrow are sisters, they live in the same house.” Macrina Wiederkehr (The Song of the Seed, A Monastic Way of Tending the Soul)

Simple and true. A lesson that took all I am to learn, after Brian died. There was joy–my son, Scott, was born a month later. Jamie went from adorable toddler to precocious little girl. Scottie did all those infant firsts. I don’t remember much of it. I lived in a black hole for the first full year after my husband’s death. Climbing out of it was the hardest thing I have ever done, but I learned the lesson well. I came to understand about those sisters, Sorrow and Joy.

Tangling with the immense sorrow in my life right now are so many joys that I refuse to allow sorrow to dim. GrandWilliam turned four. We bought him a “Merida” bow and arrow set that he’s over the moon in love with. Watching him master it, then reenact scenes from the movie was epic. Gioia’s smile is sunshine beyond reckoning. My kids don’t like when I talk about them online, so I’ll just say the simple fact they exist is my greatest joy.

I have Frankie D, my love. Date nights or grocery shopping, there’s no one I’d rather spend time with.

I have both of my wonderful parents, a younger brother who dove 20 feet to the bottom of the Mediterranean to get me sand, a younger sister who sends me daily pictures of her dogs just to make me smile, and an older brother who is and has always been my best friend.

I have friends. Beautiful, wonderful, caring friends who truly love me.

And writing. My creative mind might only be able to focus on my own stuff right now, but it is able to focus–a joy in itself that keeps me from spiraling, from wallowing. I have a novel coming out in October with a publisher I am truly honored and thrilled to be writing for. Two  more are slated for April and October of 2016. The everyday joys that go along with edits and galleys and final proofs and covers and all the things a writer dreams of continue. I feel them. They make me happy. Life in general does. That isn’t canceling out the sorrow of Christofer’s death, but it keeps me from falling back into that black hole I will never fall into again.

And even he brings me joy, crazy as that sounds. We were close, my boy and I. Closer than most mothers and sons. I got that for twenty-five years. Some hard years, some great years, but I had them. Remembering makes me cry now, but I know from experience that it won’t always be that way.

What are your joys? Share them here or elsewhere, but share them. Joy is contagious. It seeps out into the world and makes a difference to someone, like my friend’s did yesterday, in the quote in his email.



Filed under Family

18 responses to “The Sorrow and the Joy

  1. My joy, at this exact moment, is reading this post. Knowing that my close friend sees all this. All the joys mixed in with the sadness. Because friends worry about friends, and I’ve worried and hoped every single day for bits and pieces of joy to return to your world. I’m a little teary-eye right now, but reading this lets me know that you’ll never forget what you miss, but can still truly embrace your beautiful world and all the great things you still have. ❤ and hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love you to the moon and back, Terri. I told you the other night – I’m so happy and grateful to be in our house. I leave every morning and I can’t wait to come home again. I’m writing again, after a long dry spell – one of those black holes you talked about. I’m making music again. Gaining confidence again – or maybe just re-gaining it – when it too spiraled into a black hole. You’re my dear friend and my creative muse, and I’m so grateful to YOU for being there for me all these years, for your friendship and writing talk and for bringing me into the dollbaby fold. I *love* the idea that sorrow and joy live together. The sad times or bad times, they never cancel out the good, happy times. ((((((((((((((Terri)))))))))))))))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      So much joy for you, in your life. It makes me truly happy. I know where you were, and how hard it was for you to find all this joy now. Makes it all the more precious, no?
      Love you so much.


  3. It’s ironic to read this on this of all days when we thought we’d never swim up out of the sorrow. We have. But we’ll always remember. Thankfully the joys in whatever form they arrive help keep us from drowning in grief.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ❤ Life itself is a joy, always mixed with some sorrow, but that's because as humans we allow ourselves to love and sometimes we loose that love, or it moves away, or stops returning the love – but there's still life. And that is the pure joy.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I wish I had something eloquent to say, but I don’t. I see a lot of sorrow on a daily basis and so many people don’t see the beauty in other aspects of their lives like you do, Terri. I’m so glad you’ve been able to feel all of those things you feel at a time like this. ❤ You are always an inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Wow. Thanks, Linda. When I write these things, they are mostly to make myself feel better. It makes me feel even better to know they’ve touched someone else in a good way.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Lise-Marie

    My biggest joy is spending time at the ocean and it is a very rare event so i cherish every second. I am going tomorrow! Nature and my real friends bring joy by just being. And, lastly, doing random acts of kindness makes me heart sour and my soul sing.


  7. Lucy Huntzinger

    Singing again after long years of being unable to do so brings me so much joy. I had a crisis a week or two ago and my teacher said, “Sing for the joy of it. You have so much of it inside you.” So I’m going to remember that the next time I worry about something. Singing is how I get close to the divine.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kelly Ramsdell

    Love you, Terri, even though we’ve only met once in real life. My joy is in my relationship with Morris, with whom I am lucky to have a mad love affair. As you said about Frankie D., doesn’t matter what we are doing, he’s the one I want to be with. And my kitty brings all sorts of joy on an hourly basis. Kids bring joy, too, but always as prt of a mixed bundle somehow– still, seeing the wonderful women they are becoming is a tremendous source of joy.

    Love and hugs to you.


    • Terri-Lynne DeFino

      Online IS real life. When you came by that day, I felt like you lived down the street and were bopping in for a cup of tea. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your joy, especially your mad love affair. There are few who get to have such a thing. I’m glad you’re one!


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