How to Stay Happy During Tough Times
This past Christmas was an unusual time for me, and unlike any other that I’ve ever experienced. For the first time in my life, I went through the Holidays without seeing my father. For me, December 21, 2010 is a day I will never forget as that’s the day that my hero passed away. I had a few tough days trying to control the thoughts and pain of missing him, but I have to admit that I smiled mostly at the thoughts I had of him.
You see my Dad smiled every single day of his life, and he would have wanted me to do the same. When my brother and sisters would argue he would always say “Don’t fuss, call Gus, and Gus will fuss for all of us”. 🙂 He wanted everyone to be happy all the time.
My Dad was truly an amazing man, and the best human being I’ve ever met. I never heard him cuss or say anything negative about anyone. He read his Bible daily at 5:30 am, spent countless hours with all of his kids in whatever events we had going on, was a dedicated husband, friend, and was a Preacher the better part of his life. He met my mother as a song leader in a small Church 56 years ago, and they stayed in love the entire time. They adopted me and 3 other children, and God blessed me the day that He introduced me to Franklin Maurice Ethridge.
Sadly, my Dad suffered from Dementia and eventually passed from this terrible disease. It’s similar to Alzheimers but much more physically debilitating. Eventually someone with Dementia not only can’t remember anything, but they can’t walk, speak clearly, feed themselves, brush their teeth, use the restroom (completely dependent on total care), and seeing him suffer through that is pain like I have never experienced.
For someone that had a PHD, a scholar in every right, to not be able to carry on a conversation with you anymore is painful. Seeing them having to be fed is painful. Seeing them in a wheelchair 24/7 is painful, but you know what? Until the very end, my Dad never once complained about any of it. He never once felt sorry for himself, or asked for pity.
Seeing my Dad suffer and pass away was an extremely difficult time, but this year I did what he would have wanted me to do. I focused on all the happy memories of being with him. All the ballgames he attended, the countless hours of throwing some kind of ball with me, singing next him in Church(man could he ever sing!), and the golf tournaments he would follow me around to see me play. When he was struggling to walk towards the end, he would still want to ride around with me just to see me play. He lived his life to please other people, to love openly and make a difference, and he did so with a smile that I’ll never forget.
We can all learn a little from my Dad’s example. We all have problems we have to deal with whether it be divorce, an illness, the passing of a loved one, but we have to try to divert our attention from the pain in order to move in a positive direction in our life. We can get so emotionally involved with our problems that it can literally ruin our family lives, and our career. I’ve seen many people devastated when they lose a loved one or from an emotional or financial crisis.
We have to push through it, change our thought process, and try to focus our energy on positive thoughts of the past, hope and goals for the future, or do some type of positive activity daily to start to see a change in ourselves. We can start making changes in the right direction by working out and taking care of our bodies, listening to good music, reading the Bible or a good book, getting involved in doing something “outside of ourselves”… anything that might begin the small steps to shift and move away from our pain.
Dad didn’t want to upset anyone especially when it came to his disease. The people that love us in our life want for us to be happy, to be successful, and typically family is the best support system we have. We shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to the people that love us. They want to help. Also, our friends, our Church community and steadfast prayer can help us get through difficult situations.
So Don’t Fuss, Call Gus, and Gus will fuss for all of us! 🙂 Everyday we have a choice. We can choose to be happy or be sad, and today I’m choosing to be happy! My hope is that you make the decision to join me. Smile… I hope you have a wonderful day! And a wonderful life filled with happy tomorrows too…
How to Stay Happy
How to Stay Happy
How to Stay Happy