Where Joy and Grief Co-Exist

It’s been almost 7 years since the first person I ever fell in love with died. We met when we were 14, and I instantly fell in love with everything about him—his smile, his unmatchable charm, and the way he carried himself talking about philosophers yet was a “bad boy” all around. Our relationship was complicated, but what kind of first love isn’t? All that mattered, was that we understood, and I held onto hope for as long as I could.

The day he died was a day I dreaded for as long as I could remember, though it hit me like a ton of bricks. Sudden, unexpected, yet something I feared for nearly a decade.

Grief was a place I had been before, but this time, it was different. This grief shaped my 20s. I comfortably sat in the middle of this ocean of grief for what felt like would be the rest of my life. I saw no way out, and after months and months of unfathomable grief, I accepted that the ebbs and flows of this pain would be present forever. I would ride the waves and let them wash over me.

Slowly, as the months turned into a year, I began to crawl my way out of the hole I was in. I sought out support. I began to explore every modality from therapy, movement, western medicine, energy healing, Chinese medicine, coaching, and more.

As I weaved these new experiences into my life, I found myself shifting. I was slowly beginning to choose myself. Making subtle changes and choices that allowed me to be present and an active participant in my life. My grief started to soften. The pain was still there. The waves of grief still rocked me, but I found hope. I began to write, to express myself, to feel the depth of my emotions.

Once I accepted that grief will not disappear, it’s tight grip loosened. I allowed myself to welcome other emotions and feelings back in, for more than just a fleeting moment. I let myself fully feel the breadth of my experiences. I stopped going through the motions. I began to live my life again, to truly live. I remember the first time I felt true joy again, it’s as clear as day. I had forgotten what it felt like, in fact, I didn’t believe I could ever feel it again, like I had before. And in that moment, I knew it was possible. Joy and grief can co-exist. Love and sadness. Happiness and fear. Celebration and longing. Shadows and light. More and more, the joy, celebration, love, happiness, and light, began to fill my life again.

The grief and pain has made me who I am today. It’s led me to my purpose and shown me the power of duality. He’s shaped me in so many ways. And with that acceptance, I’ve found peace.


This piece was written and contributed by:

Alexa Sharwell

Spiritual Healer

Alexa is a Spiritual Healer and Coach. As a Holy Fire Reiki Master, Alexa will help you embrace your personal power, all while healing your mind, body, soul, and spirit from a distance. After facing a profound loss and battling with grief, Alexa was left questioning what her personal path was meant to be. While trying other various healing modalities, Alexa found Your Inner Babe, where she was able to tap into her most authentic self, find freedom from depression, and the sense of oneness she’d been longing for. Within that freedom and connection, she discovered her purpose had been her pain all along. Alexa was meant to be a healer. Her training, practices, and experiences create a safe space for you to dive deep and truly heal from the inside out.

@alexasharwell_ | www.yourinnerbabe.com


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