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By Julie McLellan-Mariano, CT

(Page 4 of 4)

Nugget #3: Happiness is always available.   As a caregiver, it never occurred to me that I could choose happiness.  Unfortunately, my happiness was relative; dependent on my son’s ability to get out of bed, make a cup of coffee and list the handicapped van on Craig’s List. Until those things happened, there was no reason for happiness, laughter or whimsy. Not even for a minute of joy that comes with a spontaneous belly laugh, a Nora Ephron passage or a Monty Python movie clip.  Don’t repeat my mistake.  My mentor and my daily philosophy have taught me that absolute happiness is never created or destroyed by external circumstances.   Absolute happiness is readily available and always there for the taking.  Absolute happiness is a choice.  And as caregivers, we can learn to make different choices.  Go on; give yourself permission to experience five minutes of happiness.   Then, really go crazy and create ten minutes of happiness for others.

Wisdom waits for all of us; in time, we discover it.  Eventually.   Seriously, don’t underestimate the power of eventually.

DJ Hot Flap Jacks wouldn’t.


Julie is a Certified Thanatologist, master facilitator and author. She designed, and facilitates, Mourning Yoga, The Mourning Employment Workshop and The Mourning Milestones Workshop. Julie is the author of a non-denominational, nationally recognized, children’s journal, We Love Each Other: A Healing Journal for Grieving Children, available through

Julie also contributes as an inspirational speaker; her message focuses on transforming adversity and choosing happiness.  Eventually.


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