Over the last week, I’ve been thinking a lot about happy endings. This pattern of thought began as I was folding laundry and watching reruns of a tv show, Charmed. Now I don’t admit to watching this show very often, but I caught the last twenty minutes or so of the series finale. They were wrapping up several years of character lines and saying good bye. The three sisters all got their happy endings that came in a pretty standard package. Their career goals came to fruition, they were all happily married to the man of their dreams and had a family. To tell you the truth, I was kind of disappointed. Now, I’ve seen this episode before…maybe I do watch it more than I’ll admit…but this time the happy ending stuff got in my head and has been rolling around ever since. I like the show because in the fight of good and evil in life, the sisters of Charmed can most often see the evil that threatens them. It comes in the form of demons and threatens their lives. They throw potions, do karate kicks, blow things up and before you know it the hour is over and evil is destroyed for another week. I often wish that the demons and evil in my life were so visible, so tangible. I dream sometimes that if my evil were like theirs, life would be easier…but I fight the demons and evil that eats away at me, but is invisible – feeling like a failure, worry about how my sole parenting will affect my kids, the thoughts that my happy ending has come and gone.
That last one is a hard pill to swallow for me. I wonder how in the world at 39 years old (when my husband died) did my happy ending end forever. It seems like a cruel joke. Those moments we had, the life we were building, my happily ever after shattered and we were only about half way through. NOT FAIR!
I have battled these thoughts over the six years I have been a widow. I wonder what a “new” happy ending will look like. In my heart, I challenge the “standard” type happy ending that occurred in Charmed. Does happily ever after look like that? Is my only course career fulfillment, a husband I adore, and children that I love? Of course not! I’ve seen happily ever afters lived out in many ways, but, we are talking about my happily ever after. We are talking about all those goals, hopes and dreams that have been a part of me for sooooo long. It’s hard to re align years of mental and emotional work to come up with a new picture.
I began to wonder about what makes me happy over the years and I have tried to grab at it bit by bit over the years. Over the last six years I have hoped and dreamed of many things…that my husband will come back, that the kids will turn out ok, that I will have peace in my heart again. (well that first one is a long shot!) So, every day, in small ways I try to make progress toward feeling good about life and the future again. The future has been the really hard part – why plan when all that you plan can fall apart at the seams? Well, in my own way, I tried to plan. I got out of a job that was killing me. I re focused on my priority as parent. I aligned my career goals with my family and parenting goals again. I tried to focus on bringing in a little bit of joy each day. I try to be kind to myself and grateful to the universe every day too.
Well, while I was rolling happy endings around in my head over the last week, a bit of my happy ending appeared. POOF! Just like that a very large miracle happened. An anonymous angel swooped in, contacted Camp Widow and offered to donate the funds for me to attend Camp Widow in August. My heart has been exploding with gratitude all week. I am held in awe of the goodness in people’s hearts and in awe of the generosity of this kind person who saw a bit of my happy ending in my words and took action to make them happen for me. It is part of my dream. Connecting in person with this community I fell into over the last years has been one of my goals. This kind person (along with those who will care for my kids and home while I’m away) has made this happen for me…right now! I am amazed! I am grateful beyond words. It has been my hope, my goal, my call really to bear my soul through my words so that others feel less alone. Today it is me that feels less alone. Someone reached out with kindness in a way I never imagined. Thank you for helping me! Thank you for your kindness! Thank you for giving me a piece of my not so standard happy ending.
Today is Father’s day. It is a day of reflection for me. Some years it has been a day of great heart break for me. I will always feel the sting of missing my husband and watching my children on a day that it is right out there that they don’t have a dad here on earth anymore. This day, this week however I have reason to smile too. I am grateful to a stranger for making Camp Widow a possibility for me. I am grateful to my husband for his courage to have a family with me. I am grateful for my children and their adaptability to have survived six years with me as their sole parent. I am also grateful to my dad (and mom) for raising me and showing me that hard work builds dignity. I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful.