Monday Mediation: A Test of Integrity

“Calamity is the test of integrity.”

-Samuel Richardson

Nothing tests us like distress. The same distress we experience also tests those around us. Distress, struggle, trauma, death–they challenge our character, our honesty, our morality, our honor. Grievers must make difficult decisions and choose from options they don’t always like in order to make the best of the situation at hand. Sometimes those decisions are easy, and sometimes not. Sometimes those decisions have outside support from grief supporters, sometimes they don’t.

Greed, dishonesty, infighting, manipulation–all of these (and more) enter the equation in the wake of a loss. The pain of the loved one’s absence can cause these actions to become the only salve to a broken heart (and, when present, a wounded ego).

The aftermath of loss calls for the high road–enough strength of moral fiber to be honest about the decisions ahead, enough compassion to be there for all grieving styles and needs, enough character to stand tall and carry the emotional weight of a family forward.

Grief is painful not just because of the absence endured for the rest of life. Grief is also painful because it calls us to be (and become) a version of ourselves that is better, more compassionate, more helpful, more understanding, more honest, more loving that we have been before.

Photo by Oleg Magni on

Grief is challenging and emotionally grueling. And most often we are unprepared for the journey. The greatest tests in life, though, lead us to the greatest moments of self discovery. Remember to hold onto compassion and love in the midst of despair.

Published by ancarroll

Alexandra N. Carroll is an author, grief advocate, crafter, mother, and partner. She writes on grief and self-care from her home in Vermont. Her forthcoming book concerns how to untangle life-after-loss through the creation of a strong self-care plan.

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