Christmas eve 2010, five weeks after my husband, John's death is a blur but one moment is burned into my heart forever. I went to PF Chang's to meet a couple of dear friends. At the time, I couldn't eat much due to grief sickness that came in the form of irritable bowel and nausea. But when the fortune cookies came, I kept with the tradition of reading it aloud and for a little comic relief, I couldn't forget to add our favorite line "in the bedroom." My message said: A lifetime of happiness lies ahead of you (in the bedroom)."
The three of us burst out laughing. And then, I began to weep tears of gratitude and knowing. This was a message from John, from the heavens and it was the best gift, as it was just what I needed. It was a reminder that a lifetime of happiness lies of ahead of me regardless of the unhappiness I was feeling; and even in the midst of the numbness and aching, I absolutely knew this was true.
When I returned home, I taped this message on frame that displayed a wedding photo of John and me. It remains there to this day. I want this message in front of me every day to fuel me with hope and possibilities for my life.
What I have come to know is a lifetime of happiness INCLUDES unhappiness. I can hold both. Life is not always HAPPY-HAPPY-JOY- JOY! I don't have to deny the pain or unhappiness and I don't need to wallow in it. I can be unconditionally present to what comes up. In allowing both or allowing all that I feel, I am happier than I knew was possible.
Everyone has the worst things that have ever happen to them, causing immeasurable pain and heartbreak. This is part of the human journey. In experiencing the depths of my own pain, I have empathy for all of humanity. No one goes through life unscathed. Everyone has moments that take them to their knees AND moments that lift them to heights that could have never imagined. The worst things that happen to us can lead to the best in us. This is life. Be with it. And remember: A lifetime of happiness lies ahead of you!