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

The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears. —John Vance Cheney, American poet

Life can be filled with joy. It can also be filled with immense sadness. Our ups and downs during life’s journey depend on a number of factors. These include such things as our circumstances, our reactions to our circumstances, and yes, even luck. Often we can’t control our circumstances, or our luck, but we can control our reactions to what happens to us and, by doing so, overcome them.

There have been numerous books, articles, and movies about people who have risen above the difficulties that life has handed them. They have won gold medals running races with no legs, they have gone from the bottom of the heap to the top of the boardroom, and they have been devastated by the loss of a loved one. Many of them have gone on to inspire others or create organizations—like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers—to fight against the injustice that caused their loss. They have all triumphed over tragedy.

These are no superheroes. These are ordinary people who realized that they might be down, but they didn’t have to stay there. They too have had feel-like-crying moments, perhaps many of them. But they didn’t let those times dictate their future. They eventually took those setbacks and, at some point, realized that they could surmount them.

If those people can do it, you can too.

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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