If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I started my own version of #100HappyDays on April 19th, a month after my sweetie’s funeral; just as the shock of losing him was starting to wear off and the numbness was replaced by an ache and a pain that would not stop. The best part of my “everyday life” was gone from this world. Everything “normal” I knew was suddenly gone from this world. The #100HappyDays challenge is to post a picture each day for 100 days of something that made you happy. I decided I could do it, despite the fact that I was having trouble seeing anything but my despair–and I would use it as a tool to help me through my grief.
I’ve experienced loss before. I’ve lost a parent, far too soon. Tough, for sure. As a child, I lost a baby sister, and my very first friend to Leukemia. Hard for a kid to handle, definitely. I lost my beloved Gramma B six years ago. I’ve lost family members to suicide–tough for a girl who’s known the despair of that moment and yet not be able to help them in their moment of greatest despair.
But the loss of your spouse is an animal of it’s own, and until you have walked this road, you have no idea of the monsters that lay along your path. I thought I understood–but it’s not possible to understand what it would be like… just like it’s not possible to understand what it would be like to lose a child, unless you have.
So. The challenge. While it might not be a happy day, let’s face it, I just watched Leukemia rob my husband of his good health, his vitality, and his life, in the span of roughly ONE month, I should be able to find joy in at least one thing every day. Something that made me smile through the tears. Something that gave me a feeling of gratefulness despite the hole in my life.
Today is Day 43. I haven’t posted yet, but there is a movie night planned at my house tonight and I know I’ll have a GREAT happy post for this evening! Some days have been a challenge. There have been some very dark, bleak days in the past 6 weeks. But, I have much to celebrate, much to be grateful for, and yes, even joy in my life despite all that has happened.
Sometimes we believe that we can’t love or enjoy life…or have joy…unless all is right in our life, relationships, and world. But, we have the ability each and every day to choose to love life and enjoy it–to choose joy.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Life knocked me so hard this time–I wasn’t sure I wanted more. Sometimes, the best thing you can choose to do with your day is to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. I’ve had many days where I just wanted to pull the quilt up over my head and stay in bed. But I knew my sweetie would not have wanted me to do that. He found good in every day no matter how challenging it had been. Heck, even as he lay dying in the ICU, he found good in a seriously frustrating situation. He is my best role model in getting myself through this thick fog of grief and loneliness by smiling despite the pain and sorrow, and finding a little slice of joy.
God’s goodness is always there. It may take training our eyes to see it again but it is always present. I was SO MAD at God for taking Frank. SO MAD. I was so angry that he made me wait 36 years to meet my soul mate and then took him away before our 3rd Wedding Anniversary. Every time I was out in public, or saw something in the news, I was so upset that he took such a good, true person who made this world a better place for so many people, even strangers, and left terrorists, criminals, and the truly selfish behind.
I was beside myself that God did not answer our heartfelt prayers. Until my cousin pointed out to me that He did. He just didn’t answer them the way I wanted them answered. Frank was relieved of his labored breathing and his pain. Frank was cured of cancer. Frank did get to leave the ICU and go home. Frank was made healthy again. This all happened at 9:07 pm on March 15, when our Father came to take him to his Heavenly home. And I was not left alone (which I prayed for OFTEN and begged Frank not to do–leave me alone, that is). Even though the loneliness is SO pervasive in my life right now… he left me surrounded by family, friends and good people.
I know that God wants to give us all an abundant life, a life filled with His blessings. But, I’m having a hard time accepting losing Frank as a Blessing. However, everything I have read about grief tells me that eventually I will be able to see it that way. We’ll see.
The truest and purest blessing is God Himself. God is bigger and better than anything we might be facing. Choose today to take one baby step at a time to begin to enjoy life once again. Little by little, you’ll get there. I’m trying with this #100HappyDays project, and finding joy and blessings in the day when there is sometimes very little to feel good about.