I live a happy life. I truly enjoy life and I am grateful everyday for the blessings that have been bestowed upon me. My life hasn’t always been so happy. One of the most difficult times was when my husband, Ian, was in his final months of life. Every time we would venture out into the world to participate in life, the looks and stares we would get from other people were devastating. There were looks of horror, glances of pity and the worst were the blatant whispers and pointing of fingers. Remembering these moments makes me weak in the knees and leaves a pit of fury in my stomach.
Even more difficult than enduring those moments of discomfort were the times I would be walking down the street, by myself, and watching the interactions of others. The mother pushing the baby carriage then stopping to bend down to straighten the blanket and then tenderly kissing the baby. The group of teenagers oblivious to everyone else, laughing, teasing and thinking nothing bad will ever happen to them. The most difficult was watching a pair of lovers, holding hands, window shopping, giggling and stopping for an embrace before crossing the street. I felt as though I was trapped behind a glass wall, cut off from the happiness of life. I knew that none of this was possible for me, at this time, and it broke my heart.
My heart broke again the other day. Robbie, my fourteen year old, and I were eating pizza at an outside cafe. We were laughing, Robbie was texting his friends, I was checking my email on my iphone and life was good. Robbie went in to pay the bill. As I took a deep breath and felt the joy of my life, a man and boy walked past my table. I only saw them from behind. The man, the father, was walking next the the boy, the son, with his arm around him. I caught a glimpse of a black eye patch around the boy’s head. The boy’s hair was thin and frazzled, just like Ian’s hair was, after all the chemo therapy treatments. The boy walked with a limp and was extremely frail. I would guess that this boy was in the throws of a cancer battle. Tears welled up within my eyes and a lump caught in my throat. Here I was now casting a glance at such a sad story and there was nothing I could do to change it.
The way to enjoy life when life isn’t so happy is to always look for the goodness in every moment. There was nothing I could do to change the situation I observed the other day. What I can do is be grateful for every thing in my life, even the bad things, because I now know that when bad things happen the good things are so much better then they could have ever been before.