Cheerfulness: A Conscious Act of Kindness
 
My mother died of cancer when I was 18. The disease was detected a year earlier during her pregnancy with her sixth child. On the day she delivered, both breasts were removed.
 
During her illness, our household became increasingly gloomy. It's hard to watch someone you love get sicker and sicker. But my mom was always a pleasure to be with and to be around. She struggled to remain a delight, despite her deteriorating condition. She'd joke, tell stories of better times and laugh in an effort to cheer us up. But it never worked. We hung onto our despair as if we had to be visibly miserable to prove we loved her.
 
I didn't appreciate then how difficult it must have been for her. In such situations, cheerfulness is neither natural nor easy. It requires a willful act of selfless courage. She was sick, but she loved us and cared for us so much, she wanted us to feel better.
 
In my lifetime, I've known only a few people like my mom. People who so caring, that for our sake they refuse to surrender to grief, fear or despair. Rather than indulge themselves in self-pity or bask in the sympathy of others, they make a conscious choice to spread good cheer rather than contribute to gloom and despair.
 
I now realize that our choice to spend our last months with my mom in a constant state of solemn sadness was unkind. It added sorrow to her sickness. She hated seeing us unhappy and she felt so guilty.
 
I wish I had been strong enough and wise enough to be more cheerful to my mom.
 
I wish I had spent every moment with her aggressively enjoying the time we had.
 
I wish I had thought more about her happiness than dwelling on despair. I can't change that. But I can tribute my mom by spending my remaining time cheering others. I can tribute her by bringing joy in a room and never contributing to gloom and doom.
 
So, on behalf of my mom, if there is anything I can do to brighten your day, please let me know. I pray your life to be awesome.
 
Michael Josephson
Speaker and Radio Commentator
www.charactercounts.org
 
Image from gardenbyocean - http://www.gardenbyocean.com/
 
Have a great day!
 
 
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