Sunday, 27 October 2019

Strive for joy, not happiness

Time is a funny thing. Despite mankind's determination to divide it into orderly units of seconds, minutes and hours, it stretches and contracts depending on the situation. We all know that time can fly or move like molasses, that days can feel endless but years seem to go by in the blink of an eye. 

That's what this past week has been like for me. After the terrible accident last Saturday time slowed down to an agonizing snail's pace. Every minute between the phone call and Rich coming home  seemed like hours, and the first couple of nights felt endless. The initial pain was brutal, I could literally feel my heart aching, and I couldn't get through even an hour without bursting into tears.
Who saved me during the horrible first hour after receiving the phone call was my dear neighbour. I called her completely hysterical, asking if I could come over, and she picked me up at the gate, enveloping me in her arms, and once inside she held me, made tea, stroked me and let me cry on her shoulder. Not having to be alone until Rich came home was so precious, I will never forget that.
 
It's been a long, hard week filled with grief, tears and sickness. The cold that I had successfully been fighting until last weekend eventually won, since my immune system took a serious hit from the shock and grief. I got so sick that I lost my voice for a full 4 days, and I had to spent most of last week on the couch. On the bright side, I had excellent couch companions:

And there were other moments of joy.
When I crouched down in front of Nina's grave, watching our friend put the last bit of earth on it, Tom Snow and Teddy snuggled up close on each side of me. It was a perfect moment where time slowed down and my heart swelled with gratitude and love.
There was this beautiful rainbow the other morning that hung in the sky for over 20 minutes, helping me find the answer to a problem I had been mulling over for a while.
There were these three, lined up picture-perfect, giving me a long moment of feeling completely calm and at peace.

I used to think that happiness was what everybody wanted, and that it was the ultimate goal we should all strive for. I've written quite a few posts about it on this very blog. But if we are lucky we learn and grow as we get older, and now, with a few hits and bumps under my belt, I know better.
It's unrealistic to hope to always be happy. Life doesn't work that way. Life is painful and unfair and fucking hard sometimes. Everybody has to go through difficult times, there are no exceptions. We all have to go through heartbreak, betrayal, disease, money worries, loss, uncertainty, doubt, pain, and whatever else life holds in store for us.
Nobody can be happy all the time.
But even in hard times, we can still experience joy. We can still be grateful. We can appreciate the kindness of friends and strangers alike and be lifted up by it. Even if it doesn't make us happy at the moment, it lightens the burden we carry and gives us hope and strength. 

Last week was not easy. Emotionally and physically it was the toughest one I had all year. However, I also experienced pockets of joy every single day. There was so much love coming towards us, I could feel it.  
And then my husband pulled a typical Rich-move. Hating to see me so distraught and miserable, he did what men do: he wanted to fix the problem. So he drove 2,000 kilometres to get me a new baby: Dixie.
Sweet Dixie joined our family 2 days ago, and she has stolen our hearts already. She is spunky, curious, full of life, and extremely affectionate. She loves everybody she meets, she chews everything in sight, and she's making us laugh 10 times an hour. Puppies are the best remedy for heartbreak! 
No dog ever replaces another one. Nina, and all the other dogs we've had and lost will always be in our hearts. But having a new puppy to chase after is an excellent antidote to wallowing, and I'm so happy that she has joined our family. The pack is complete again!

Thank you all for the outpouring of love and support last week. I haven't responded to most of the messages because I felt too lousy, but I read and deeply appreciated every single one of them. You all helped me a lot to carry the burden of losing our sweet girl way too soon, and I'm ready to move onwards and upwards. Thank you all very much!!
   


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2 comments

  1. What a wonderful column! Life is always a mixture of grief and happiness but love (and puppies) can save us. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks for your sweet comment! Puppies truly do save us, and love conquers everything. I'm so grateful to have both in my life.
      Have a happy weekend!

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