Choosing Joy in Grief

Choosing Joy in Grief

Writing contribution by Lindsay Joy Taylor of The Joyful Jewelry Box

Insight from Thriving Women

When I was an infant, my mother was murdered in my childhood home and the killer was never found. Although 33 years have passed, it still feels intense to talk about her death so truthfully. How could it not?

choosing joy in grief

Because I was so young when she died, I do not have any memories of my mom either.

By the time I was old enough to comprehend what happened, her absence was a fact of life. I always just “knew” that she was gone. How could I not?

I recognize now that I was grieving my entire life but as a child and young adult, I plowed through the pain with a lot of achievement. I earned good grades, supported myself through college, developed fulfilling relationships, and was a reliable employee. On the outside, I appeared to be thriving but there was a numbing ache in my heart that never went away. There were many times when I should have felt happiness but I felt sad or lonely instead, like there was a piece of me missing.

Even though I was compassionate to loss in others’ lives, I struggled to seek support for myself. I walked through life carrying a lot of unresolved anger and resentment, and in my early 20’s, I developed severe anxiety and depression. It was a confusing and discouraging time but it was also critical to where I am now because it forced me to deal with my trauma. I promised myself that instead of letting my grief consume me, I would turn the pain into something good.

While I believe that healing may be a lifelong journey for me, I have found some ways to move forward with intention and meaning.

choosing joy in grief

Gratitude: When I was born, my mom insisted my name be Lindsay Joy to represent the power of choosing joy in difficult times. It was the greatest gift she could have given me and a constant reminder that I can honor her memory with gratitude, even when it feels impossible.

choosing joy in grief

Purpose: I created The Joyful Jewelry Box to support and encourage others who are also riding the unpredictable waves of grief. What began as my jewelry shop to help others remember their loved ones has now grown into a meaningful tribe of motherless daughters who remind me that I am never, ever alone {and neither are you}.

choosing joy in grief

Rituals: I started celebrating important dates like her birthday, death anniversary, and holidays with meaningful activities. I have cooked her favorite recipes, released balloons, run half-marathons, and gotten memorial tattoos. Having a {flexible} plan for those tough days gives me some comfort and encourages me to live life intentionally.

Spirituality: This speaks to my faith in a higher power and the belief that joy and pain can coexist. Though I do not believe everything happens for a reason, I do believe that God finds a way to create beauty from ashes.

choosing joy in grief

Symbols: The dragonfly is my family’s spirit animal for my mom and numbers hold a lot of significance as well. The symbols don’t replace her physical presence but they help me feel close to her and remind me that she is always with me in spirit.

Therapy: Having a trusted counselor provides a safe place where I can share my heart without the fear of burdening others. My therapist supports me, offers insight, and most importantly, she reminds me to have compassion for myself.

Yoga: Practicing yoga has taught me that I can get through anything if I remember to breathe.

I’ll never know what life would have looked like if my mom had not died so young but I’m certain she wouldn’t want me to be a martyr for my grief. She told me the best way to cherish her memory was to choose joy, no matter what. Hard as that may be sometimes, how could I not honor her wish?


About Lindsay Joy Taylor.

choosing joy in griefLindsay lives in California with her husband Brandon and their dog Trooper.

She owns The Joyful Jewelry Box and some of her favorite things include coffee, yoga, and concerts. Lindsay is known for her big laugh, compassionate heart, and love of meaningful conversation.

You can connect with her at: The Joyful Jewelry Box on Instagram, Facebook or by email at [email protected]



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  1. Cassie
    September 12, 2017, 1:41 EST

    I can’t even imagine the pain you have from losing your mother. I admire you for speaking out and sharing your story with us. I love the jewlery idea. What a beautiful way to share with others.

    • Lindsay Joy
      September 13, 2017, 11:48 EST

      Thank you so much Cassie, I appreciate your kind words.

  2. Erica D Ardali
    September 14, 2017, 2:44 EST

    I am sorry for your loss but glad you’re choosing to LIVE your life to the fullest. It honors her.

    • Lindsay Joy
      September 15, 2017, 8:57 EST

      I agree, thank you Erica.