I started my own version of #100HappyDays in April 2014, just as the shock of losing my husband was starting to wear off and the numbness was replaced by an ache and a pain that would not stop. 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 it could be a tool to help me heal.
So. The challenge. While it might not be a happy day, let’s face it, I had 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. 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 Frank 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 the 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 him. SO MAD. I was so angry that he made me wait so long to find him, and then took him away before our 3rd Wedding Anniversary. Every time I was out in public, or saw something terrible on 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. He was relieved of his labored breathing and his pain. He was cured of cancer. He did get to leave the ICU and go home. He 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.
…and I’m praying for peace and blessings for you Doris.
Amen! I, too, was widowed in my mid-40’s & lost my mom to CA as a teen. They’re hard, hard hits. No way around it. I made the mistake of “firing” God the first time around. Yes, Virginia, it CAN get worse. 😦 I, too, have sometimes focused oh-so-literally on the next step & breath. Sometimes that was all I could do or find the will to do. But it was enough. God has ALWAYS met me when I turned to Him. Not in the ways I thought I wanted & not on my timeline. Still, I can truly day “always.” I appreciate both your struggle & your faith, courage, & integrity in the midst of it. Peace & blessings to you.
Doris, you are amazing! I am nodding as I read your words, so beautifully expressed, because I can identify with to much you say. Many was the time when I asked God ‘What do you think you’re doing?’ When he took my husband in the space of a few seconds. It took time for me to see that, although so much of the ‘shine’ has gone from my life, God really is blessing me every day, and I can take pleasure in the small things – if I will only look for them. Thank you for articulating your journey so beautifully. Bless you, dear Doris xxx
God is giving you strength. I would be lost.
You are amazing. You are working through your grief in a very positive way. My best friend just lost her husband suddenly. I cannot take her grief away but I can listen to her memories on our special day. We go out to lunch together every other Thursday. No matter what. I even had my husband take me to meet her the day after my knee surgery. I am are you have a great family and friend support. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Just remember. Just remember God is with you. He is helping you to work your way through this. He is giving you strength. Your sweetie may be gone from this life but he will never be forgotten. His memory will linger and you will smile again.
Sometimes in the darkest hours we find our greatest strengths. I know you are hurting so much right now but I do believe that you will again see the sunshine and happiness that surrounds you. Big giant virtual hugs to you.
Thank you for sharing from the depths of your sorrow. I do pray for the Lord’s mercy and peace to fill you again. Your choice of joy is so positive ~
Thank you for being amazing. I wish you nothing but the best and am moved by your choice of joy as you heal. Peace and blessings back at you!
Doris, you write so beautifully, from your heart, you fill so many peoples day with happiness with your 100 days. Me for one! I love seeing those moments of joy in your day, knowing that the choices we all make, can be the difference we need. Keep taking those baby steps, and know you are never alone. You are always in my thoughts, and I wish you peace and blessings that will bring you the joy you deserve xx
Oh my, Doris. Your words are so very eloquent. I am sure I could not have expressed feelings such as you have. I’ve never been through a loss as difficult as yours, though losing my mother was tough enough. I admire your strength, and your determination to carry on… to find joy. God is using you as a testament of His unending love for us. I am blessed by your message, and in knowing you. May God continue to pour His presence and perfect peace into your life.
I really admire your strength, Doris. I totally identify with you. I was angry at God when I lost my sister. But I have to trust that He knows what’s best and that He has a plan. I really like your idea of 100HappyDays. I think that’s such a great idea. I hope you can finish all 100 days. I have faith in you.
I just found your blog through one of my Pinterest adventures and your story touched my heart. We lost my dad to cancer when he was only 43, far too young for anyone to leave their loved ones. My mother was given a book called Mourning Song by Joyce Landorf Heatherly that she found to be of great comfort in assuring her she really wasn’t losing her mind, just going through all the natural stages of grief, something not well understood at the time. I highly recommend it as a source of guidance and reassurance. I applaud your campaign to find the joy in life despite the horrific loss you have suffered. I visit a site that has a similar theme and a lovely widget that gives me a daily list of little things to smile about whenever I feel myself slipping into a sorrowful mood. It’s http://www.thingstobehappyabout.com/cloud-calendar.php, and has other lovely interactive pages. I pray that you will find a sense of peace and comfort over time. Grief is a lengthy process, and you will never get over your loss. With God’s grace and the love of friends and family, you do eventually get through to a place where you suddenly realize that life will continue and you can move forward to write the next chapter of your life.
Thank you, Vickie–I will definitely check out that site. Your kind words are so appreciated… and so full of truth.
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