Health & Well-Being

Healing After Loss

Are you grieving and living life on a roller coaster of emotions? You are not alone on this scary ride. One minute, we are up and feeling OK, and the next, we are down and entirely overwhelmed by our loss. We feel out of control. It is just the way it is, and it’s normal. The shorter days and colder temperatures of winter sure don’t help. Will we survive it? Absolutely.

If you are new to grief, you are most likely spending more time sad than happy. You may feel like you are drowning in sorrow or lost in a black hole. Trust me, that is going to change. It takes courage and strength to face your pain. You can do it. Eventually, there will be more smiles than tears. It’s a promise. I am happy to be the voice of hope, but it is a choice that you must make. This ride will improve, but only if you choose to turn the corner. I’m not saying time will heal your wounds, but you will learn to live with them, smile, and even laugh through the pain.

Let the grief happen. Take however long it takes. Use your instincts or counseling or a bereavement group to get through it. Do whatever it takes to walk through this fire we call grief and come out whole on the other side. Always remember that your loved ones want you to go on, live your life, and be happy. Honor them by doing just that. It’s hard work. 

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Enjoying the company of family

Suddenly, without warning, change happens. It’s always the way. You may not recognize it initially, but you have a new lease on life. You are the same person, but something is different. It is a welcome transformation. You are smiling more and laughing without feeling guilty about it. You are engaging in activities and having fun. How did this happen? You chose to face your pain and survive it. Believe, too, that the person you loved and lost is delighted. You have honored your person by moving forward.

Grief has a beginning but no end. Somehow, our brains and hearts learn to adapt. It must be some evolutionary survival thing. The pain is still there. I expect and accept it will always be, but it is as if it is stored safely in a safety deposit box, like a precious piece of jewelry only to be worn on special occasions.

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Crocus ready to bloom

It’s winter. The ground is cold and brown and appears to be lifeless. Lifeless, but nothing can be further from the truth. Beneath the snow cover, plants are very much alive. In survival mode, they endure the freezing temperatures. In time, they not only survive but thrive, pushing up green shoots and beautiful flowers. 

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We can take a cue from Mother Nature and trust that we, too, can have renewed life. Those winter blues and sorrow will eventually give way to a renewed love of life and gratitude for all its gifts. Living is how we can honor those we have loved and lost.   


Lisa Keys

Lisa Keys is an award-winning home cook, mother, grandmother, and retired physician assistant. She has been entering and winning cooking contests since 1990, and her recipes have been well-published in national magazines, cookbooks, and online publications. She holds certifications as a Food Champ, Steak Association judge, and pizza judge. Keys is also a food blogger. Three years after the death of her son, a US Navy Corpsman, she embarked on a public grief journey and became a Food Network Chopped Champion on the 2014 Mother's Day episode. Her inspiring food blog,, followed and continues to reflect Keys' philosophy that preparing and sharing food with others is an extension of one's heart and soul.

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