Good Grief

Losing her father, boyfriend and brother in a matter of six years left 23-year-old Allison with every reason in the world to be depressed. But her sunny outlook and determined optimism let her make the most out of a terrible situation.

Allison’s Story


“In a matter of six and half years I lost three of the men closest to my heart.”

Seven years ago my dad was killed by two friends of my brother and my brother killed them in retaliation. My brother went to jail with two life sentences without chance of parole and then died two years ago in prison. And my senior year in high school, about five years ago, my boyfriend died in a car accident.

“I decided to put in positive energy instead of negative.”

When my dad died, I turned to art as my therapy. I learned to throw pottery, so for hours after school I would be in the art room throwing pottery, creating and keeping my mind off of his death and concentrating on something else. With my boyfriend and brother, I tried to do the same thing, where I would focus on something else as opposed to what was happening to me, what I was going on around me. I found one of the best ways for me to deal with grief was to try to maintain some sense of normalcy. As hard as it was, get up and bathe every day, eat, talk to people. Go to work and hang out with your friends and keep yourself busy. It is good to sit with it and deal with it, but you should only sit and deal with it when you are ready, otherwise you will fall apart, you’ll break apart.


“Find the best of it, and learn from it.”

When I decided to look for the positive, I saw that a lot of really good things came out of my dad’s death. I got to go to Germany — my dad was from Germany — to visit family. I met my brother, a son from my dad’s first marriage who I had never met. It made the relationship with my mom better. And it also made me realize just how strong I am and that I can handle things.

The way I see it is that I can take the tragedy I have incurred and I can either be pitiful and be pitied or I can keep the faith in myself and in the universe and in God and find the best of it and learn from it, which is what I have tried to do. I tell myself that the universe will only deal me as much as I can handle. I tell myself that every time I have to deal with something. I say, “Look at what you have already been through. It is not going to happen if you can’t handle it.”


“Life is meant to be lived.”

When I lost my dad, my boyfriend and my brother, I was very depressed and it was hard to pull myself out of bed. But I learned you can’t sit around at home when you are depressed. You have to enjoy life, do fun things, do not do things that you don’t want to do. My job is something that I love to do — I am a massage therapist — and I don’t see it as going to work everyday. It is an hour or two or four or six of my day, but I don’t feel like it is wasted. If you are not happy in an office typing on a computer or answering a phone, then don’t do it. Regardless of how much money you make or regardless of how stable it is, if you aren’t happy then it isn’t worth it. It is better to be happy and poor than rich and unhappy.


“Every day you have to find the sunshine.”

It is very important for me to look to the positive everyday. If you go one day looking at the negative, then it is like a bad habit. Negative feelings come much easier than the positive. You have to work for the positive and look for it, create it, where the negative creates itself unfortunately. Every day you have to find the sunshine and the smile, and you have to make the smile for people.

Copyright © 2007 Procter & Gamble Productions, Inc

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