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June 17, 2012 / Ronald Chapman

Joy Embedded in Grief

Many years ago a dear friend passed away unexpectedly. Betsy Comstock was wise in more ways than I realized, which was reflected in the large numbers of people who attended her memorial service in Schenectady, New York. More telling however was the smaller gathering at the local community theater where she had been involved.

After some necessary socializing, the organizers had us stand in a circle around the room in which we were gathered. Then we were asked to tell our stories of Betsy, to celebrate her … and more importantly, to extend her reach beyond our own lives.

While there were many tears shed, they were dwarfed by the laughter and the love. What I saw was joy through the lens of sorrow. It was not sadness but gratitude that needed to be expressed.

I imagined Betsy looking down upon us with a gentle smile on her face. I bet she was touched to see the ways we had been touched … the same way people are touched by the telling of a good story that finds its way past our head and into our hearts.


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