Well, this isn’t what I planned to write this morning when I awoke, but I always follow the highest truth.
I’m in that messy place again, of preparing potentially for my best friend to leave me again. She’s had cancer on and off for going on seven years now, and she’s back in the hospital. She’s been in a steady decline for months, and this isn’t the first time it’s looked like she’s going to let go. I know she’s in pain. It’s hard to watch her suffer.
But this week something else happened, something scary, and I know it’s changed things. Her husband got sick too suddenly and was in the hospital this past weekend too. He’s been her stalwart champion these long years, always there, often stoic, which suits his personality. But how much could he take before his own body broke down too? It scared me, when I saw the sallowness of his skin a few nights ago. It so mirrored the skin of my beloved friend. When he went to leave, I simply held him, and he let me, rare for him. It felt like he was bleeding out.
I found myself needing to lie on a blanket in the grass in the full light of the sun after I’d heard the news this morning. I was crying. I’d offered to take their cousin to the hospital, who is here from Europe taking care of my friend. She was crying, and I held her too. There is so much sadness now.
I found myself saying that I needed to gather the pieces of myself together, and then I realized that wasn’t what I needed. That implied the pieces of me were scattered and incomplete. And I remembered the truth. I am complete and whole in this moment—and so is my friend and her family.
I didn’t realize until that moment why I’d read my book, The Bridge to a Better Life, last night way into the wee hours of morning. It’s about a woman who’d lost her best friend to cancer too, and how she feared losing her, grieving her. Part of me was still scared too. I didn’t want to feel the pain, to have to let go of all the things we’d talked about doing together: riding horses some day on my farm; walking down the red carpet; and having tea in my new house after I’d come down from writing.
I love her. I love them. They’d been the best neighbors and friends anyone could ever hope to have. And I feel it all slipping away.
But I’m feeling it all, and that’s what I need to do right now.
Happiness is feeling it, all of it, without resistance, without judgment.
I’ve redefined my definition of happiness lately, and it makes more sense now. Happiness is how you feel when you do what you need to do for yourself in the moment. Happiness is serving your emotions, your body, your spirit.
And I just did that. And I’ll keep doing it.
Because I love myself as much as I love my friends.
P.S. I heard minutes after I returned from seeing my friend at the hospital that my beloved book, THE CHOCOLATE GARDEN, had made the USA Today Bestseller list. I cried tears of joy and sadness (there was still sorrow from my visit to the hospital) and then I popped the champagne. Today was about feeling it ALL. And I am so grateful.
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