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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

No Regrets, Choose Happiness

~ Rogue River, Oregon salmon fishing ~
According to this site and the person writing the post, the top five regrets of those folks who are in the last stages of life are


1.  I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.


If you visited the link, please know I'm not recommending the site and know nothing about the site but happened upon it when wandering around reading something else somewhere else. How's that for nailing it down for you, eh? -smile-
~ haggling in the Marrakesh souk ~
All I want to say is, choose happiness. We're all battling some kind of something or other...physical, mental, emotional, financial or  combinations and battles we wouldn't wish on enemies. When your friend, spouse, partner or love does something, intentionally or unintentionally, unkind...choose happiness. When we allow someone to make us angry or annoy us, we lose. We lose happiness and all those losses may not seem like much time lost now, but when we're sick or on our deathbed, those minutes will come to us, unbidden, and we will anguish over those opportunities of, now forever, lost happiness. 
~ in Alaska ~
Dave lived a life of his choosing and not the life others expected of him. I think there are those that resented him for that; they begrudged him his happiness because Dave chose the path less traveled and did well in life. For those who are obedient, always doing the "right thing"...usually as perceived by their parents or others in authority...someone else doing well by taking the path less traveled can irritate. Dave taught me to live likewise and, more importantly, he encouraged and supported me in that quest. 
~ kayaking, Inside Passage, Alaska ~
Dave worked smart, rarely hard and was always amused because I loved working hard. Physical labor thrilled me and a barn cleaned of muck and manure and put back to rights was a joy to me. A garden full of food, pantry shelves with home canned goods, a quilt on the frame, wool on the spinning wheel...those things that made our house a home and our lives whole, they pleased me to do well. Quiet joy and a complete sense of satisfaction was my reward; that and knowing, at the end of the day, I could face God and Dave with a clear heart and conscious made my life whole. Dave, on the other hand, would spend hours and hours in quiet contemplation figuring how he could earn his living, what decisions would best suit him, us, the company for which he worked. Dave put together a great team and they are feeling his loss. 
~ camping in Sahara Desert, Morocco ~
As I'm typing this, so many of you are running through my mind...your situations, circumstances, prayer needs...yes, you're tucked into prayer and thank you for your prayers. "This" is the hardest thing I've ever done, this treading of a path unknown, empty of comfort and full of longing. No one can explain and no one can prepare another; it's a membership I'd gladly give up my rights. I'm trying to choose happiness but, truth be told, most days I simply put one foot in front of the other and plod, plod, plod. 
~ Arno River, Florence, Italy ~
I do know I'm rather tired of people telling me they understand or they know what I'm going through. How can they when tonight, they will slip into bed beside their loved one and cuddle against the cold darkness? How can they know the overwhelming vastness of the loneliness that threatens to submerge me and press the breath out of my body? A beloved friend asked, "do you start to speak to Dave and then realize he's no longer there?" Not even hardly. The black hole of emptiness he's left behind is always surrounding me; I'm never unaware he's gone, always aware I'm now one. Sometimes I say something shockingly rude, ugly even, just to make people focus on how bad I am but, at least, then they stop with the platitudes. That's a relief and, frankly, I can hardly care what anyone thinks right now. It's too much effort to care and I am empty of effort.


I'm trying to choose happiness but success isn't mine to claim. Later perhaps, but not right now, and that's the best I can do.


Blessings ~ memories ~ photos ~

28 comments:

  1. Thank you for this post and the reminder. Choose Happiness. I will try harder each day, to do just that.


    ((((hugs))))
    ~Lisa

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  2. Dear Sandra:
    In all the hustle and bustle of daily life, traveling and caring for my own, I completely missed the day your life drastically changed. I'm so sorry that I was not "there" to support you at a time when you lost your sweet and brave husband.

    Please know that I'll keep you in my prayers as you learn to move forward without Dave. I'm so sorry for your loss, and can't begin to imagine the difficulty you must have just trying to move through your days.

    All I can say is that you are not as alone as you must feel. There are those in Blogland who send their healing thoughts across the miles to you. Please count me one of them.

    Most affectionately,
    Donna

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  3. Sandra...I needed to read this tonight...people just don't know the absolute sadness. I gave myself the luxury of the month of Dec to do nothing but think about my dad...I miss him so! My mom misses him so!! We are lost though we put on a false front most times. I am done with false fronts..sometimes I just don't know what to do. But I do choose happiness as I know that is what my dad wants me to do...and that in itself makes it harder. If you ever feel you want to come to arizona for even a few days I have a place for you..I will pick you up at the airport. xoxoxo

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  4. When I start to shy away from comforting someone who has experienced great grief with the loss or illness of a loved one, it's because I don't know what to say. You are right.... I can't honestly say that "I understand" if I haven't walked that path.
    What have been the words from friends that have made you smile or say thanks? I always hope to say the right thing and sometimes wonder if I do.
    Grace

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  5. Blessings to you!

    Hang in there . . .


    Aloha from Waikiki

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

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    < ° ) } } > <

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  6. I've lost my parents, but they were at the end of their lives, but none of my immediate family have gone, so far. I can't imagine the feelings of loss and loneliness that must come over you! I feel for you. I enjoyed reading your post. I felt the anger. I also took the advice. I am always on a guilt trip in life. I always seem to feel that I don't do enough for this one or that one or the other one. After reading your post, perhaps I should just think, 'choose happiness'. I will never be the person I really want to be. I can't heal the hurt or take away the pain, but I can listen. I will try to understand.

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  7. I don't know what you are going through but my thoughts are with you! I think you and dave complemented each other lives perfectly! God bless you each and every day and night.

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  8. Hmmmm, think you might be too hard on yourself? Choosing happiness is easy on a sunshiny day, but when the tornado is raging and the river is rising, it might be a different story.

    You remain in my thoughts and prayers.

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  9. Thinking about you......

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  10. I'm sending love and prayers to helps you on your journey.

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  11. You've revealed your heartache with me and I agree, no one but the Lord can truly understand the depth and breadth of the pain that washes over us and threatens to sink us, and sometimes it does so often... I pray for your aching heart...

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  12. Thinking of you. Praying too each day.

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  13. Dear Sandra,
    Sending prayers of comfort for you...I do not know what you are feeling. Your words are perfect because they are what you feel. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers...always.

    Hugs and love,
    Lynn

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  14. having done the same thing once already (spouse died of metastatic colon cancer in 1996) and now watching DH being consumed - I feel more like I'm fading away every day - sinking in a sea of my own fear - I hold onto the commands to Fear Not - but must confess my fingers slip too often to boast of any success. Your honesty and transparency are good for a culture which denies death, heart rending and I hope at some time - you can look back and say "yes - that is where I was" -- I'm sorry you are alone - still praying

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  15. Sandra, CHOOSE HAPPINESS as Dave did.
    There are many people who really do understand your plight, so when they say this, believe them. There are so many kinds of losses, major losses. My husband has Alzheimer's, and in the last stage. He hasn't known me or anyone else for years. He exists but does not live. He would have chosen death over this tragedy. And so would I. My loss occurs every single day, as there is no end in sight, so there is no recovery. And, I think choosing happiness is correct. The other night I completely over-reacted to some comments made by one of my dearest friends. They apologized and I realized I had over-reacted. We all love each other. So life is, indeed, to short to concentrate on crap, to be un-understanding, to be impatient, to be patronizing, to be mean. Your difficulties are hideous but the Lord is with you and with Dave. He will give you the strength you need to survive and one day you will smile & laugh again. Looks like Dave always had a great time, and you guys went to some awesome places. I could NEVER kayak in the inside passage, just too vast. So I really admire him for doing all these things. Look up, darling, always look up. I love you, S.

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  16. BTW - I think I'm posting something I "stole" from one of your blog postings - mea culpa and good stuff Sandra - love to you.

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  17. Sandra .. My heart aches for you.. I cannot even imagine the vastness of your pain.. I only know a smidge of pain from the loss of my sweet companion Maggie my 14.5 yr old golden you have seen on my blog many times. If my pain is this for her ..I cannot even begin to imagine the loss your heart has claimed. And yes we should grab happiness wherever, whenever and as much as we can in life ..but during such great pain .. it is understandable and human to find it hard to find. I Think it's o.k. ..God knows we must grieve and grieving is made up of every emotion concievable and that all takes time .. You are always in my prayers sweet sister in Christ !

    May the hands of our Great Healer mend your heart each day .

    Blessings Sara

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  18. I love these pictures of your Dave. I have always been a rule follower . . . I think hanging out with Dave would have been good for me.

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Sandra.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  19. I'm encouraged by Dave to examine my obedience and choices.
    "I listen to the trumpet of Jesus, while the world hears a different sound. I march to the trumpet of God-almighty, while the others just wander around..."
    We all must follow our calling and it seems you AND Dave have done just that. Well done. Count it all joy.
    Blessings Sandra,
    Kathy

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  20. Sandra, my prayers are with you, I have no idea how you are feeling but know that God will never leave your side.
    I'm very encouraged by your post. I'm going to have to be making some very tough decisions in the new year, and I know that I need to chose what is best for me and my children and not others. I need to finally be happy.

    Bless you,
    Catt

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  21. Sweet Sandra-
    What wonderful pictures of Dave that you have shared. Your life together was incredible - and so very blessed. The memories of these places must be so alive in your heart and soul~~

    I am thinking of you often and praying that your heart will become a little less heavy. I know you miss him so much.

    Sending you my love~
    Vicki

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  22. No, I don't know what you are going through and I can't possibly understand your loneliness or sadness.

    All I can do is savor each day I am given and learn from your wisdom.

    Thank you for this. xoxo

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  23. My heart breaks for you! So sorry. If you can say "choose happiness" in the midst of tragedy, what a reminder for me! Blessings upon you!

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  24. Oh Sandra..........

    I didn't know.......dear Lord forgive me for not checking in more often .........with all my heart, you have our love, our sympathy and our shoulders if you need them........and a magical place to come visit anytime you wish along the ESVA.
    Sending you love, Blessings and warmth tonight.
    Nancy, Joe, Mom and all the critters

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