Are You Happy with Yourself?

Even though I know Mike has stepped beyond the boundaries of this life, there are moments when I so desperately need his advice. In those moments, as if wishing on a star, the Universe allows him to reach me. More so lately than when he first died. Maybe it’s because I’ve been more open, more tapped into the connection I once had with the energy of the Universe and my faith.

Several months back, in October on the third anniversary of his death, I found his journal. It’s a journal he has been writing in since before we met over 22 years ago now. All those years ago, in the blossoming stages of our love, we’d sit on his bed and he’d share his thoughts, his dreams, his journal writings. Journaling helped transform the landscape of his thoughts, and sharing those with me gave me insight into a garden of color, wonder, wisdom, and soulful ideas. It was like watching him paint on canvas, being invited into a sacred world no one else knew. A world that became ours.

So, here I was October 2023 on the third anniversary of his death, and I came across this beautifully bound cranberry leather journal. The raised etchings on the outside of it look like Celtic symbols, interlacing, and a metal knob mimicking the same design. I was in need of him that day. I needed to hear his voice, I needed his thoughts, I needed my best friend. The journal creaked as I opened it, as if awakening from a long sleep. The spine of it stretching as I haphazardly flipped it open to a random page. There were multiple entries, but one stood out, sandwiched between two others, with a line drawn above it and below it, separating it out, calling attention to it. It is one sentence long–just one sentence (and I don’t know when it was written).

“Forget the past, I am right here…..”

(For those who follow us on Instagram, you will see a video of this entry.)

That’s all it says. I traced the words with my finger, syncing each letter to the familiarity of his handwriting that I haven’t seen in so long. For the first time, Mike’s words reached me. He was here, he is here. He broke through the veil to remind me that he’s with me and it’s ok.

Five months later, and here I am with another moment where Mike broke through to talk to me. His higher voice whispering to me as if he’s in my ear saying, “Listen”. As the orange globe of the citrus sun washed over my face, I sat starring at the computer screen, trying to find the energy to start my Monday. Yet feelings of loneliness and ache filled me. I’ve been trying to cover and mask the feeling and the hole that grows larger with it. I’ve been trying to find ways to “step forward”, yet every time I do so, my foot hovers and I pull back. Part of this has to do with being hurt since Mike’s death (after it).

People ask me if I’m not comfortable being alone. Many say, “If I didn’t have my kids and lost my spouse I don’t know what I’d do. The loneliness would drive me mad.” Do they not realize? Have they not heard some of the story? Do they think being reminded that I don’t have children will help? Then there’s the standard, “Just date, get a free meal, it at least keeps you busy and not lonely.” It’s important that we are ok with the loneliness, that we can stay strong in the indefinite stillness that comes with being a widow or widower. I lived alone for many years in my late teens and early 20’s before I met Mike. I lived in my own apartment and was used to it. However, it was never a desire of mine to have eternity alone in this life.

There’s a fine line between being content with it and desiring it. Once you’ve been married and have the love of your life for nearly two decades, and then have to adjust to living alone and filling that space with the “in-between”, it’s very hard. BUT! But, I’m doing it. I’ve been doing it for over three years now.

Which brings us back to Mike’s journal. I needed him this morning, and he delivered. There are entries in his journal I’ve never seen, and this morning I found one wedged inside the inside cover. An entry that was torn and stood alone from the rest. I delicately pulled at the paper and once again felt the pang of familiarity at seeing his handwriting. It started with……

“Are you happy with yourself?

I don’t think anyone can truly be happy with someone until one can be alone with oneself and be happy. One cannot love another or love again until¬† he/she loves oneself. It’s almost as if-if you are not happy alone you seek fulfillment through others. The need to be happy is only satisfied by someone else, that is why one cannot be truly happy. The type of person who fulfills happiness through others is emptied of it when that person is “no longer.” Then loneliness is associated with sadness and gets lost in it. I think happiness happens when a person really knows themselves and can be happy being alone with themselves. Then and only then can love and life find them again.”

This entry goes on from here. I don’t know how he does it, but Mike finds a way to reach me when I need it most. His words always with me. He knows what I need. Reading this this morning was powerful and transcendent. He reminded me that it’s ok to be alone right now. It is hard, I will not deny that. The silence at times deafening. But Mike reminded me that the Universe has a way of bringing us miracles. Until then and more importantly because of it–happiness can be found inside ourselves. All we have to do is look within to find the brightest light and that light will carry us through the hardest times.

Grief is not easy, it’s a very lonely journey at times, and filling all the in-between spaces is a battle in and of itself. But I will fight for the happiness inside myself and sit with the loneliness for as long as it will be with me. I got to have the greatest love affair, the greatest marriage, the greatest soulmate of all time for nearly 20 years. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Those memories, that energy, that’s what fills me with light, with happiness.

Mike’s last words in this entry, and in all caps are:

“BECOME MORE SPIRITUALLY AWARE OF WHO YOU ARE.”

Having these moments is the greatest gift from him. He once again lifted me up. So to all who are on this journey, it’s ok to be alone. It’s ok to hate the loneliness. It’s ok to want and desire love and companionship. But don’t use it to replace what’s lost. Want it because of the gift that was had, not to replace. But to build upon and thrive in love that’s in this world. But until such time may come, be still and be ok being still. It’s not easy but you will survive it. Don’t look to far ahead, breathe in the life you live right now, and let your light shine brilliantly.

Let grace, guidance and gratitude bring you internal happiness.

 

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