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Finding Happiness When It Seems Far Away

Have you ever noticed how things sometimes just fall into place? Recently, I listened to a Webinar sponsored by Texas Oncology Foundation about dying. The session’s name is “From Touchy to Touching – Straight Talk about the Dying Process.” It was not easy to listen to, partly because one of my good friends from the lung cancer community was in the hospital, living her last days on earth.

Mourning the loss of my dear friend

Yesterday, my friend, Karen, passed away. She was surrounded by her family and I understand that she easily drifted out of this world into the world of Paradise. I am heart-broken that she is no longer lighting up this world with her intelligence, humor, compassion, and spunk, but I rejoice in the fact that (1) she was a devout Christian (and in my belief system, that is huge), and (2) she is no longer struggling with her disease or a cough that nearly incapacitated her for the last 6 or 8 months.

I had a terrible time yesterday. I’m not a crier at all, but I was crying big alligator tears off and on, all day long. I’m not trying to make this about me, but maybe I am. I lost my son in November 2018. My best friend of over 50 years died unexpectedly in February 2019. And now, one of my very best friends in the lung cancer community has passed away.

I feel like I have a dark cloud over my head. Sometimes, I wonder if people are going to stop wanting to be around me because there is just too much sadness in my life these days. Have you ever felt like that?

A reminder to laugh again

Anyway, back to the coincidences -- the way things seem to just fall into place sometimes. Again, first I watched a Webinar on the process of dying and then, less than 12 hours later, my good friend passed away. Today, when I was getting the notes I took while listening to the Webinar off the printer, I saw the title of the Bible study notes I printed last night. Those notes were on top of the ones about dying. The title: “LAUGH AGAIN: Experience Outrageous Joy.”

Anyone who knows me knows I love to laugh. Some people think I laugh too loud. Some may even think I laugh too much. Maybe so. But I love to have fun, I love to laugh, I love to be happy. And, to have those notes, which I printed without even looking at first, sitting on top of all the pain (which the notes on dying represent) ... well, that spoke to me this morning.

There's still room for happiness

For all the sadness we face in the world -- and in the lung cancer community, we face a lot -- there’s still room for happiness. And, research says that smiling, laughing, and being happy is good for you.1

It’s okay to be sad for a short time, but it is healthy to lose the tears and the frown and to find your smile again. And, being happy often starts by being grateful.

So, today, I am grateful that the notes I printed last night had a title that lifted my spirits, just by reading it. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to laugh again, to feel joy again!

And, more than anything, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know and love Karen. She enriched my life. And the memories of her will live with me forever.

Donna and Karen

Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on June 8, 2019, Karen Loss passed away. Karen’s advocacy efforts and writing continue to reach many. She will be deeply missed.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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