This is an excerpt from Embracing Life After Loss: A Gentle Guide for Growing Through Grief by Allen Klein. Available on Amazon at

Life is risky; we are all acrobats tiptoeing over one bridge or another. To a tightrope walker the rope is just like home. Those who hold their bodies lightly and their minds simply may seem in danger, but they are safe. —Chinese scroll saying

Recently I received an email from a woman who lost her young husband in a car crash. She said that with his death, her “life has not been and never will be the same.”

And she is right. It never will be the same. But that does not mean that her life, or yours after your loss, cannot be fulfilling.

One of the things that death teaches us is that life is short; if you want to do something, you probably should not put it off, or you may never get to do it. Death also teaches us that life is filled with risks and that we need to take some of those risks if we are to reap life’s rewards.

After my wife died, I realized it was time to confront some of those risks and do things I had been putting off for years. I learned to drive a car for the first time at the age of forty-two. I went back to school to get my master’s degree. I gave up a business I co-owned and started a new one.

In spite of your loss and the feeling that your life may never be the same, the death of a loved one can bring a surprisingly new life. I encourage you to seek yours.

What small risk can you take today that might help you live fully again?


Allen Klein

Comedian Jerry Lewis has said that Allen Klein is “a noble and vital force watching over the human condition.” Through his books and presentations, Klein shows people worldwide how to use humor to deal with everything from traffic jams to tragedies. Klein got into this unusual line of work after his wife died of a rare liver disease at the age of 34. He saw how humor helped her, and those around her, cope. He also saw how humor helped him get through that loss. He now teaches others how to find some in trying times. Those audiences include people in 48 states as well as Israel and Australia, and clients from IBM to the IRS. Klein is the immediate past-president of The Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, an international organization with nearly 600 members whose purpose is to advance the understanding and application of humor and laughter for their positive benefits. Klein is also an award-winning speaker and best-selling author as well as the recipient of a Toastmasters Communication and Leadership Award and a Certified Speaking Professional designation from the National Speakers Association. He is also a 2007 inductee into New York City's Hunter College Hall of Fame Klein's first book, The Healing Power of Humor, is now in a 36th printing and ninth foreign language translation. It shows readers how to use humor to deal with everyday trials and tribulations. His second book, The Courage to Laugh: Humor, Hope, and Healing in the Face of Death and Dying, documents how people have used humor to triumph over tragedy. And his most recent book, Learning to Laugh When You Feel Like Crying, shows readers how to embrace life fully again after a loss. It incorporates the five steps of going from loss to laughter: Losing, Learning, Letting Go, Living, and Laughing. He has also authored fourteen other books, including Change Your Life!: A Little Book of Big Ideas, Inspiration for a Lifetime, and, L.A.U.G.H.: Using humor and Laughter to Help Clients Cope. And his writing has appeared in four Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Klein has a master’s degree in humor (from St. Mary's College in Minnesota—and that's no joke!) And he is well suited to his subject. Years before becoming a “Jollytologist”, Klein was nicknamed the “King of Whimsy” because he designed all the children shows at CBS television in New York City. Among those productions was one you probably remember—the Captain Kangaroo show. Although no longer working in the light-hearted world of children, Klein still believes that adults need to take a lesson from them and lighten up.

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