Celebrate we will,

Because life is short but sweet for certain..

Dave Matthews Band – “Two Step”

When my husband was first diagnosed, he and I and pretty much the rest of our family went in to battle mode. We were going to beat this thing – no matter what. After the surgeries, chemo and radiation, we started to play a game of ‘catch up’ and worrying. During those first few months of his illness we developed what can only be described as a routine that included me nagging him about his meds and his food intake and him trying his best to rise above this illness that was eating him away.

Both of us were worried about the future, a future we didn’t  dare discuss except in the guise of morbid jokes. We were both concerned about the well being of the other. He showed his concern by insisting I go out with friends and enjoy concerts to relieve me of my caretaker duties and escape the reality neither one of us was willing to admit was a possibility, and me by going on with my daily routine as if I didn’t notice the axe looming over the life I had so come to adore.

Almost a year in to his illness, due to circumstances I won’t get in to here, we were forced to take a real look at the situation and how it had changed our relationship. We didn’t like what had become of us. And we decided that, no matter what the outcome, we weren’t going to allow the illness to devour who we were as a couple. It was then we started to seriously discuss the ‘what if’s’. It was then we also decided that should the worst happen, we weren’t going to allow our final memories of our marriage to be consumed by grief, pain, pills and cursing fate.

We decided to celebrate the time we had, because we didn’t know how much time that was.

Recently, among some of my friends, I’ve noticed an almost matter of fact acknowledgement of ‘life sucks.’  While I am very prone to wallowing in my own self pity from time to time myself, I realized a few months ago, that wallowing, and whining and bemoaning my fate would be so against  everything my husband believed in, I actually felt ashamed for doing it.

The thing is, life doesn’t suck. Life, as cliché as this may sound, really IS what you make it. You can choose to be miserable or you can choose to seek out that which makes you happy. Even if it is for a brief moment, anything that will make you smile – Because life is meant to be enjoyed.

I hate to sound like I’m preaching, and you don’t have to take anything of what I’m saying to heart, but the truth is, even unemployed, down to the last of my savings with hardly a job prospect on the horizon, I still try to find a reason to smile. There are days where that is increasingly difficult for me to do, but then I think of my family, my friends (and I have to say I have some of the best friends and family anyone could hope for), my sister’s impending nuptials, the amazing summer I had and the phenomenal events coming up this fall and winter and I know, even for a minute, I can smile. This moment sucks. True. But it will pass.

In the midst of a conversation with a good friend of mine, I came to an epiphany.  Life is full of shit happening. It is up to us to find the happiness somewhere in that pile of dung. People suffer through illness and financial hardship. People we trusted can turn on us. Friendships we relied on can turn sour. Seemingly healthy and robust people can die suddenly. It is up to us to rise above all the bad and somehow find a silver lining. Life is too short to spend miserable. Happiness is what life is about. We are the only ones who can find joy among the hurt, anger and pain thrown at us. It’s a choice we make daily. It’s up to you to decide to celebrate the life you have.

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