“A happy life consists not in the absence, but in the mastery of hardships.”
— HELEN KELLER
I was feeling the extended grief hangover that is so hard to shake after one of those iconic, special days. The two perfect, deep pink roses that I had kept from the two dozen I took to her grave on her birthday were at the final edges of their perfection. Crazy that in my head their demise would symbolize yet another loss. It was a phone call from my friend ‘C’ and a trip to the grocery store that brought me back to happy. “Meet me at the café at the market”, she said. I went, knowing that ‘C’, of all people, would understand the dark aura I dragged with me. Coffee and conversation didn’t make a dent. “Walk with me. I have some shopping to do”, she said. They say a walk in nature helps. Forget nature! Just take a walk at the grocery store! First magic stop – the dairy aisle. Trust me – try the strawberry milk. It had me smiling even before I opened the bottle. And forget the flowers in the floral department. My friend knew that the other place to find joy was where they had the vases and ceramics. I saw “her” and knew immediately she was going home with me, no flowers needed. With bananas typically as her hat, she greets me every morning and always elicits a smile. Yet another grief lesson learned. For every dark day, there is always a bottle of strawberry milk and something that will make you smile waiting to be found.