100 Days of Happiness

Since one of my closest friends died on October 14, 2015, it has been hard to be positive. She left behind a young daughter, a husband, devastated parents and countless others whose lives she touched. Mubina was a light in the life of many. She had stunning eyes and an infectious smile. She put you at ease and made you feel like an old friend within minutes of making your acquaintance. It is hard to come to terms with the fact that she is gone and that her light, at least as we knew it, is gone.

But despite her diagnosis and despite the short life she lived, she was always positive. She never once gave in to the “woe is me” attitude that we all would have expected and understood. Instead, she appreciated every last day. I can remember our last conversation when she was cracking jokes and laughing. It is one of my favorite memories.

There is very little we can do now that she is gone. We carry on. But to honor her memory and preserve her legacy, her friend Salma and I have chosen to take on the 100 days of happiness challenge. This is a challenge that Mubina herself took on after her diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

100HappyDaysMJThe challenge is simple. Every day starting December 1st, 2015, post one thing that makes you happy, that makes you feel blessed, that reminds you of Mubina or that just makes you smile. It can be your favorite Starbucks drink, a photo of your family, a fresh manicure….you get the idea. Use the hashtag #100HappyDaysMJ and get your friends and family involved.

For the next 100 days, let’s remember a beautiful woman that we lost too soon but let’s do it with love, happiness and gratitude for being able to have had her in our lives, however brief the time may have been.

But then we lost her.

When my best friend was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 2 years ago, I tried to be hopeful. I knew the prognosis was bad and I knew we would never grow old together, but I hoped for the best anyway. I thought we had several years ahead of us to celebrate holidays, blow out birthday candles, and watch our children grow older. In that time, I tried to be positive. I wrote blog posts about making changes in my life, about being grateful and counting my blessings. We spent time together. We laughed, we cried, we traveled.

But then we lost her.

She was 37 years old. She left a 3 year old without a mother. She left one of the nicest guys I have ever known without a partner. She left her parents to grieve their only daughter. She left my children without the godmother they adored. She left me without the one person that knew my darkest secrets, my most annoying habits, and yet chose to love me anyway.

It is hard to be grateful after that.

Truth be told, it is hard not to be resentful and bitter. For the past month, I have been buying groceries, baking muffins, pumping gas, seeing patients and Christmas shopping and in the back of my head, there is a nagging voice that keeps asking me what the point of all of it is. I have moments of grief that come out of nowhere. These moments are familiar. I have experienced my share of loss and tragedy. But somehow, it seems worse this time. It seems even more tragic, even more senseless and even more devastating.

It seems unfair that life goes on. It doesn’t seem right that we buried her and then we still go to work, check instagram and make holiday plans. I know we have to carry on but it doesn’t feel right. It seems that with her passing, a part of me died too. The part that tried to see the good in everything is gone. The optimistic part of me that always believed things happened for a reason no longer exists. Afterall, there is no good reason to lose someone so young, so beautiful and so vibrant.

So the days will become weeks and the weeks will become months, and the months will become years. We will live our lives because that is what we do.

But in the end, we will never be the same without her.