Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Happiness Project ......


...... has been making me think this week.

I'm not sure how I became involved in this, but I am.

I think it may have been through an email, though I can't be sure.
But I also can't think of any other way I would have agreed to do this.

I am a volunteer for this project.
Which entails me receiving 3 texts a day, 7 days a week, for more than one week.  I think.  I can't remember how long this is supposed to last.

But I get 3 texts every single day, asking me to rate my level of happiness at that given moment.
On a scale of 1 - 10.  One being very unhappy.  Ten being ecstatically happy.

I've been doing this for a week now.
And it's made me really think.
I mean really.

The first time I received a text asking me to rate my happiness level, I had to stop and consider.  I thought about where I was at that point in time, and how I felt about being in that place.
And just the process of stopping and taking inventory of my life, and my current situation ....... made me stop and realize something.

I am very, very blessed.
And I have many wonderful friends.

And ...... I am pretty happy at this point in time.
Yes, it's a different kind of happy that I had "before", but it's still happiness.  And that's huge.

I've never been able to give it less than a 5.
I gave one 5.  That was the minute I got back to my home after chasing down two dogs.

I am happier than I thought I was.
At first that was amazing to me.

But not any longer.
I've come to realize that I am much happier than I thought I was on a daily basis.
I wouldn't have been able to say that three years ago.  Or four.
Or even two.
Not by a long shot.

But time has moved forward ...... even when I didn't want it to.
And that's turned out to be a good thing.

That's not to say that I'm ecstatically happy 24 hours a day.
But I am happy most days.

In spite of being a widow.
And an only parent.

In spite of so much.

I am blessed.
In so many ways.

And I hope that that gives you hope.
Things will not always be as dark as they are now.
I promise.
You will experience happiness again some day.
I promise that, too.

In spite of living daily life on this path.
In spite of losing all that you lost.
Like me.

I experienced true love.
With the love of my life.
With my other half.
With the best man I knew.

Not everyone can say that.

I don't take that for granted.
But I do appreciate it.
Every day of my life.

And that makes me happy.
In spite of ....... well, you know.

I'm glad that I signed up for this "project".
I needed to be reminded ....... of how very blessed I was ...... and still am.

You will get here.
Before you know it.
And you will feel grateful ...... for how blessed you were.
And still are.

Many of us experienced a love that most people never get to know.
Most of us were blessed.
And maybe, if we're lucky, we'll be blessed again.

But even if we're not ...... we can still be happy.  And grateful.
Because we had something huge.
Very huge.
And most people can only dream of obtaining that.

So stop and think about how blessed you were/are.
And realize that, in spite of so much, you can be happy.
One day at a time.


  1. Janine - love this! just love it.
    You give me so much hope.
    Thank you

    1. Thank you, Anon. That's always my goal. To give each of you hope.

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I'm getting to just four months and on some days I feel as if it is going to be awful pain for the rest of my life. It is hard to imagine getting to the point where you obviously are. This gives me so much hope.

    A friend gave me a quote and I am keeping it next to my computer.

    "With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts" - Eleanor Roosevelt.

    Holding on to that and your post, I am. Every little bit of hope helps.

    1. Thank you for commenting, Anon. I'm so sorry that you have a reason to be here.
      And yes, at 4 months there is so much pain, mixed with so much shock. I remember that time, and not being able to see a future because of the blackness that surrounded me. But I also remember pinning my hope on people who were ahead of me here. Even one month ahead of me. When I saw that they were making it, that they were able to smile. And I knew that I'd probably be able to do that, too.
      I don't want to sugar coat things ...... you have a long road ahead of you, but ......
      you WILL get here. It just takes time. And while the thought of so much time can be overwhelming and frustrating, that much time serves a purpose.
      This time will strengthen you. More than you thought possible. This strength will also make you able to carry your grief better. It's not that grief gets easier, you'll just carry it more easily because you're stronger.
      It will happen. In time.
      I've heard it said that the harder you loved, the harder you grieve. And that makes sense to me. Jim and I loved each other very hard. And very deeply.
      And my grief was just as hard and just as deep. It seemed to last forever at such a deep, painful level, but it didn't.
      I think it will always be with me, but it won't cause me the depth of pain that it once did.
      At times I wasn't sure that I would ever be at this place in my life. But here I am.
      And here you'll be.
      In your own time.

  3. I can't wait until I get there, still dread every day, all the "stuff" to take care of that he used to do, no end in sight yet. I do have a bit of hope that one day, this too shall pass, but for the most part, it is still pretty dark. How do you make all the decisions on your own? What to keep, what to sell, where to live, how to work, how to doesn't seem to get any easier for me, just more challenges. I know I/we were blessed, but most days I don't see any flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.

    1. Dear Anon,
      I agree with Anon below. In the beginning of my "after", when it came to making decisions, I thought about what Jim would do. I knew him better than anyone else. And sometimes, I knew him better than he knew himself. That went both ways. So I know what Jim would say about most of those decisions. And I went with that. I didn't really hesitate .... I just did it. Whatever "it" was.
      Now, almost 5 years later, I make decisions based on what I think. And what I want (and anyone else who might be involved). I don't stop to consider what Jim would've done as much anymore. I just decide. And then live with that decision, no matter how things turn out. Yes, I've made mistakes, but then so does everyone else. And so did Jim. He was human, just as we all are.
      I know that you don't see any light ahead of you. And that's normal. I didn't either. All I saw was cold, black inky darkness.
      But not now.
      So just know, that in this part of your life, when you don't see that flicker, I can see it for you. It's there. And it's more than a flicker.
      You WILL see it one day. You'll get here. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Even on the days that you slide 3 steps back. One step at a time.
      You will do it. And then you'll look behind you and be amazed at how far you came. And as you look behind, you'll see someone back there. And you, too, will encourage her/him. And give them hope.

  4. To Anon - I take my late husbands advice. How to make those decisions? Just make them. Use your instincts and your history and get advice from professionals when you can and in the end just make a decision. Sometimes you will be wrong but that is just the odds of statistics. No one is ever 100 percent right.
    Make as many decisions as you can and you will feel more in control, life will become easier, you will work toward the light.

  5. I want to believe this; I have had glimmers of this; but not today; not yesterday, but maybe the three days before that; my heart hurts in the pain; I so want this hurt to be over; but I want to keep my memories forever; I hate that is all that I have left of him; I too was blessed, WAY blessed with a good man who was my best friend, husband and lover. My pain is deep, my love was deep. Just so tired.

    1. Mjay,
      I understand that pain, and how very deep and never ending it seems. I, too, never thought it would end. I got to the point where I thought I couldn't stand it for one more second. But I did. And so will you. Because time, and this pain, will make you stronger. You'll be able to endure and survive more than you would have ever thought. You can't hurry this process, unfortunately. You loved deeply, and, as you said, you feel the pain deeply. You loved a long time, and you'll feel the pain for a long time. But it will get easier to endure, because you're gaining strength as time passes. Even if you don't believe it, or feel it. You are.
      And you WILL be here one day. Then you'll be ready to give hope to the person behind you. And that will be huge.

  6. Another great post! I was blessed to have the love of my life, the best man I ever knew and to be loved like there was no tomorrow. When he died I have never felt so much pain in my heart and in fact my whole body. As each day passes and now almost 2 years, I too can say that I do find a "different" happiness. It took me 4 marriages to find him. Both of us widowed when we met. WE never know what the day will bring, will we love again- I hope so. He taught me so much, and I know he was happy when he died- I hope to be the same.


    1. Thank you, Jackie. Thank you for the compliment and thank you for reminding us of what is truly important. "He was happy when he died - I hope to be the same."
      I love that.
      And I, too, know ...... and hope that.

  7. Replies
    1. Thank you, Widowisland. That's my goal. To give hope.

  8. It feels like you took the words right out of my mouth. You are 100% correct. I am at 4 yrs 7 mos without my husband, best friend, and love of my life. I am so grateful that I had his love and I have memories to hold onto. I agree with you about happiness...I have felt a weight lift and I am able to feel a bit happier with passing time.

    1. Thanks, Cindy ...... for giving everyone even more hope. When those of us who are further along on this path can give others hope, that means so much. I believe that when we give people hope, we gain more hope.
      And one can never have too much hope.

  9. I loved this. I just passed the two year anniversary of my husband's death. Happiness is something I work on everyday and finding the silver linings...truly blessed is the only way to put it. <3