Searching for Joy

I started writing an article on joy. It is important for our health and well-being. I believe that and science supports it.

But, darn, sometimes it is really hard to reach down and find joy.

I am, by nature, a joyful person. So far, nothing this world has thrown at me has managed to permanently steal joy from me. Yet. But I must tell you ... sometimes it seems rather touch and go as to whether I might finally give it up for good, you know?

Thinking about a dear friend

One of my good friends and fellow lung cancer survivors is fighting for her life. I expect to see any day now that she has changed her address to Paradise.

When I read through Facebook posts that are being made to her as she lingers between this life and the next, what an awesome individual she is; she really stands out. When she leaves this earth, it will be a terrific loss for many, because she is a very kind, generous, loving, intelligent, and fun person. Her leaving will leave a big hole in many of our lives. She’s always been so alive, do you know what I mean?

Why I grieve

So, we grieve because we love her and she’s a wonderful person who we are going to miss more than words can express. But, at least for me, the fact that she has gone from a vivacious survivor, one who has been beating cancer for years and years (lung cancer is her third cancer and she’s beat it for over six years), one who has always grabbed life by its tail and swung it mightily about her head, is also a little scary on a personal level.

You see, she and I received our diagnoses at just about the same time. Many of our activities have mirrored one another. We both thumbed our noses at the cancer that we have both harbored in our bodies ... never going away, but gratefully staying stable. We’ve not forgotten we have cancer, but we’ve not let it stop us from living -- and living as big as we can.

If this beast can take my vibrant friend and steal her life within just a few weeks ... well, it can do the same to me. Not only can it, it probably will one of these days. The question no one knows the answer to is when “one of these days” will be.

Finding joy even in times of sorrow

Yes, sometimes it is hard to find that joy that we’re told is so vitally important to us, mentally and physically. But, you know, even when I am so sad at the idea of my friend leaving here and going on to her Heavenly home, I find myself grateful for the times I have had over the last 6 years or so to spend with her. If neither of us had had lung cancer, we would never have met at all and my life would not be nearly as rich as it is now because I’ve known her.

I think of the many fun things we have done with one another, even though I live in Texas and she lives in Virginia. I remember the long conversations when one of us could finish the other’s sentence because we were of one mind on so many issues. As I sit here reminiscing, it hits like a brick just how much I am going to miss her. But, there’s a slight smile on my face at the joy I feel that she graced my life for the time that she did.

And the bit of fear for my own mortality that rears its head is pushed away. Because, I resolve, one more time, to live today, this moment, as fully as possible. In the end, that’s all that’s promised to any of us ... and it is enough.

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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