Joy and sorrow. Happiness and suffering. Embrace it all.

“Don’t be sorry it’s over. Be happy it happened.”

You ever hear that sentiment before?

I’m sure you have. As it applies to folks we’ve known, it might come across as something like, “Don’t be sorry they’re gone. Be happy they were here.”

The first time I heard it, I thought, “How brilliant! Focus on what we’ve gained, and not on what we’ve lost.” It’s feel-good poster fodder at its best.

Years later, now that I’ve lost a significant number of meaningful lives in my life, I think back on that feel-good sentiment and I think, “What a load of crap.”

Be happy they were here? Absolutely. By all means. Treasure those memories. We’ll fall back on them over and over again until the day we kick.

Don’t be sorry they’re gone?

That’s crazy. I’ll be sorry they’re gone until the day I die.

I’ll mourn my dad, and my aunts and uncles and cousins, and my high school buddies who killed themselves, and the dog my wife and I just put down because she couldn’t walk anymore … I’ll mourn all of them for the rest of my days. I want them all back. And there are nights, when if you catch me in the right mood, you’ll find me weeping for any one of them, just because I miss ‘em.

That doesn’t mean I’m not happy they were here. I’m a better person because they — all of them — were part of my life.

You can be both — sorry they’re gone and happy they were here. You should be both. You should embrace both of those emotions.

That’s life, folks — joy and sorrow. Happiness and suffering. We all live it.

Embrace it all.


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