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Sometimes, Round Two: Day 39 of 365 – Relief and Sadness!

Sometimes Relief Is Draped With Sadness!

“Plop, plop! Fizz, fizz! Oh, What A Relief It Is!” That catchy little phrase found air time on televisions all over the country back in the 1960’s pitching the positive effects of Alka Seltzer for upset stomach. I can close my eyes and see the “effervescent” smile of little Speedy Alka Seltzer, the company’s animated spokesperson, selling the benefits of that iconic product! That brilliant smile sent that message that Relief is always clothed in happiness!

But what if it’s not? What if Sometimes Relief Is Draped With Sadness?

I can think of many times that this holds true in life. It is often true when:

  • After a long illness, a loved one succumbs and dies. There is a certain amount of Relief for the cessation of suffering for that loved one; however, sadness often takes up residence in our souls.
  • We come to the end of a long struggle to save something from destruction. We are relieved to have come to the end, yet a certain sadness fills the cracks of our experience, reminding us of the pain of the struggle.
  • An abusive relationship ends and the one victimized finds the courage to free him/herself from that wretched bondage. The Relief carries with it the remnants of a rather strange Sadness a – a Sadness that defies logic or explanation.
  • Students come to the end of high school and graduate. The Relief ushered in with the graduation milestone finds itself shaded with a stealthy sadness that goes against the celebratory event.
  • The doctor tells us that we are finally cancer free. The Relief is palpable while the Sadness reminds us of the time lost as a result of the battle.

There are many, many other examples but I believe these suffice.

The key to understanding and therefore accepting this curious reality is that Relief and Sadness are often two sides of the same coin. Not always . . . just sometimes. When we find ourselves able to embrace and accept this reality, the Sadness can actually become a Confidant – a source of wisdom. We must learn to become more comfortable with the seemingly unimaginable dichotomy that exists in this relationship between apparent polar opposites.

Relief and Sadness – two sides of a coin; strange bedfellows; an odd couple – but oh so real and often necessary. You see, Sometimes Relief Is Draped With Sadness . . . and Sometimes, that is OK!


Mark E. Hundley

Mark Hundley M.Ed.,LPC-S

Mark Hundley M.Ed.,LPC-S

Mark Hundley has worked with children, youth and families since 1971 – devoting 13 years to youth and family ministry; another 10 years to service in public education as a teacher and high school counselor; and the remaining time as a therapist, consultant, speaker and writer.

He earned his B.A. in Sociology from Hardin-Simmons University; his Master’s in Counseling from the University of North Texas; and has pursued doctoral studies in Educational Administration.

Mark is a Life Transition Specialist with a specific expertise in the field of grief. He works with individuals, families and corporate bodies to create and implement strategies for powerful living despite obstacles faced.

He is the author of Awaken to Good Mourning – a personal guide through the journey of grief – available in both print and audio versions. He is a co-founder of the Journey of Hope Grief Support Center in Plano, TX, a non-profit agency that provides free group grief support to children, adolescents and their parents or adult caregivers as they learn to mourn the death or impending death of a loved one.

Mark limits his practice to evening and Saturday appointments; supervision for Licensed Professional Counselor Interns; online counseling; coaching, consulting, speaking and training.

For more information about his coaching, consulting and public speaking services visit

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