I used to refer to my happiness as “my sparkles”. When I am at my happiest I get visuals in my head of sparkles, sunshine and rainbows. If I were to paint happiness it would be a myriad swirl of pinks, blues, yellows and greens. Butterflies flitting over flowers and fluttering away on a breeze. Rose petals of red and white drifting from an unseen source to carpet the ground in scented softness. Rainbows coloring azure skies as dragonflies skim over a bubbling brook. This painting would be dusted with glittering sparkles as the finishing touch to make my scene of happiness complete.
Over the past several months I have been known to say, “I want my sparkles back.” After the death of my husband I felt as if all the happiness I had ever known had been sapped from me. I picture myself, sitting by his bedside, holding his hand as his life force grew weaker, the sparkles sift from me as if through an hourglass but rather than accumulating at the other end of the glass they just disintegrated into nothingness. When he took his last breath and his soul left his body, I felt as if the final sparkle left mine. Many nights I have cried and bemoaned the fates. They took my husband but couldn't they have left me a couple of my sparkles?
Time, that great healer, has started, bit by bit giving my sparkles back to me. It has only been one month, sixteen days, thirteen hours and eighteen minutes (but who's counting?) since he passed over and I felt my last sparkle leave me. The hourglass does seem to have had a receptacle at the other end and fate has finally flipped it back over. A large portion of the sparkles are stubborn and stuck up top and somehow the hole that let them escape me was much larger than the one sifting them back in but they are there. As much as I would like to take a little hammer to the glass so that I can reach in like a greedy child at an Hallows Eve candy bowl and grab them all up at once I know that I cannot. It would be like a torrent of rain to parched earth flash-flooding because the moisture-starved ground cannot take it all in. I have to allow time to do it's work and patiently I have to accept a slow, steady drizzle so that I can absorb all of the happiness that I need so that it doesn't overflow and wash away from me.
Happiness, after all, is a state of mind. To achieve happiness though, we must first be able to recognize it. Every person has their own unique sparkles and sparkles shine brightest when they are shared with others. While I have been sparkle-deprived so many amazing people have shared theirs with me. My friend, Heather has a seemingly endless supply, some of which she has generously gifted me with on so many occasions by just being her wonderful self. My son, although some of his faded when he lost his stepfather, wraps his arms around me to hug me and tell me he loves me sharing his limited reserve. My family, seeing that my sparkles had faded, opened their homes to me over the holidays saying, “We have sparkle-aplenty. Come, share ours.” My brothers send sparkles through the phone lines and via email. My Facebook friends have scattered sparkles all over my wall. Cats have sparkles all their own so when my two lovingly curl up next to me and rub their heads against my arm they leave some of their sparkles stuck to my clothes. And now, after having lived on borrowed sparkles, my own are slowly making their way back to me. I recognize them in my ability to laugh and smile without concentrated effort. I catch glimpses of them when I am able to wake up in the morning, look out my window and think, “Today is going to be a good day.” I felt them last night at the stroke of midnight when the calendar changed to 2010 and I realized that although my life is different and I miss my husband so very, very much that I can face this year with hope and anticipation of once again having a full and fulfilling life.
In retrospect, perhaps the sparkles never left me. Perhaps like a flashlight that has gone dim from being left on all the time and forced to chase away the darkness I just need time to recharge.